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Hurricanes, Oil Spills, and Discrimination, Oh My: The Story of the Mississippi Cottage

February 2011

Citation: ELR 10136

Author: Jennifer Evans-Cowley and Andrew Canter

Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi Governor’s Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal collaborated with the Congress for the New Urbanism to generate rebuilding proposals for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. One of the ideas to emerge from this partnership was the Katrina Cottage—a small home that could improve upon the FEMA trailer. The state of Mississippi participated in the resulting Alternative Housing Pilot Program, which was funded by the U.S. Congress. Over five years after Katrina, what are the regulatory barriers local governments have put in place to limit the siting of Mississippi Cottages? Are the strategies that local governments are using a violation of state and federal laws, including the Fair Housing Act? While the Mississippi Cottage program provided citizens with needed housing following Hurricane Katrina, there are significant policy and implementation challenges to providing post-disaster housing.

Jennifer Evans-Cowley is Associate Professor and Head of City and Regional Planning, The Ohio State University. Andrew Canter is a Law Clerk with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. All opinions are the authors’ own.

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