Katrina Cottages, Mississippi Cottages and MAHP Park Models: Part 2

Katrina Cottages, Mississippi Cottages and MAHP Park Models: Part 2

Katrina Cottages, Mississippi Cottages and Park Model Tiny Houses from the Mississippi Alternative Housing Program were developed to provide emergency housing following natural disasters that could continue to be homes to improve the quality of life on into the future.

Typical Park Model and Mississippi
Cottage Interior

Cottages and  Park Models Features

All of the houses that are part of disaster relief have full-sized bathrooms and kitchen. They have at least one bedroom with a door that closes. They come pre-furnished with a convertible sofa-bed, dining table and chairs and bed frames and mattresses. They also have “living kits” with sheets and towels, dishes, silverware and cleaning supplies.

Park Model Set On Blocks

Smaller 396-square-foot Park Models can be moved and set up faster.  Two and three bedroom, 728-square-foot and 840-square-foot, Mississippi Cottages are more practical for longer term, but are more difficult and costly to move and set up.

Mississippi Cottage with Skirting

Permanent Housing

All three types of housing were designed with removable undercarriages. They can be put on permanent foundations. The cottages and park models are delivered on wheels and can be installed temporarily or permanently.

Habitat for Humanity of Bay Waveland worked with a manufacturer to design an addition for Mississippi Cottages and Park Models.

The under‐carriage is removable for installation on a permanent foundation.

Prototype MAHP Park Model with an addition

MAHP is working with the factories that build the cottages to develop plans to build onto the cottages.

Plan for an addition on a Park Model Mississippi Cottage

All of the Cottages are designed to be easy to add onto.

Park Model next to a large home which is under construction near the Mississippi Coast waterfront.

There has been push-back from some local governments and neighborhoods. They don’t want these small houses to stay in their communities.

Local officials also made the argument that the small Cottages (if retained for permanent housing) would do less to restore the tax base than larger, more expensive homes that existed before Katrina or new, high‐rise condo or apartment buildings that could now be built.

Unless otherwise stated, all quotes are from Developing A More Viable Disaster Housing Unit: A Case Study of the Mississippi Alternative Housing Program
February 2, 2009
Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development & Research
Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Assistance Directorate Alternative Housing Pilot Program

Mississippi Cottages Near Larger Homes

Since taxes are charged by the square foot, these small houses would really lower the tax base. And neighbors in some areas don’t want to see them.

Brightly-colored cottages in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

The little houses fit into some neighborhoods beautifully.  “Shotgun” style houses are common throughout the coast. These little cottages have front porches and gabled or hipped roofs instead of flat roofs and flat fronts like trailers.

MEMA was very deliberate in the designs they selected for the MAHP units. The architectural vernacular of the Cottages lends itself to acceptance at the local level. Many traditional style homes in the coastal South are built in the “shotgun” style and include a front porch. The standing seam metal roof of the Cottages continues this traditional design, as do the variety of bright paint colors chosen for the exteriors. As a result, the Cottages blend with the community, a stark difference from the visual impact of the plain white FEMA travel trailers and many manufactured housing units.

Gable Roof and Hip Roof
Katrina Cottages, Mississippi Cottages and MAHP Park Models

The roofing is not just for looks. The metal roofing selected for the Cottages is more durable, stronger and better able to survive storms.

They have metal gabled or hip roofs. Gable roofs have the more traditional triangle shape from the eaves to the ridge peak. A hip or hipped roof slopes on all sides.

A hip roof slopes to all sides of the home and does not have gables. Hip roofs are stronger than traditional gable roofs, as the structural components of the roof are better aligned to resist wind loads.

Although both roof styles have been built, hip roofs are more storm-proof.

In new construction or roof replacement in high-wind hazard areas, installing a hip roof increases the strength of the roof framing and its wind performance.

A hip roof is more resistant to wind damage than a gable-style roof because hip roofs are sloped on all sides. The slopes of a hip roof do not resist winds, while the ends of a gable roof present large obstacles to the full force of the wind.

FEMA: Designing Wind-resistant Roofs

Bracing the gable ends can make the other roofs stronger, but a hip roof is still the best to stand up to straight-line winds, wind not twisting like a tornado.

Gable bracing often consists of 2x4s placed in an X pattern at both ends of the attic. They are secured from the top center of the end gable to the bottom of the brace of the fourth truss, and from the bottom center of the gable to the peak of the roof. In new construction and/or roof replacement in high-wind hazard areas, installing a hip roof decreases the wind pressure on the roof due to the change in geometry.

FEMA: Designing Wind-resistant Roofs

Park Model Exterior

The board and batten or lap siding doesn’t just look charming. It is fiber cement siding, (like Hardie Board). Fiber cement siding is durable, long-lasting and low-maintenance. It is more impact, wind and insect resistant than wood or vinyl. Fiber cement doesn’t absorb moisture, so paint lasts significantly longer.

Everything in the design is to make these houses safer in a storm.

A Cottage in a mobile home park in Gautier, Mississippi

Some Mississippi Cottages are in commercial mobile home parks. Nobody’s complaining about that.

Elevation requirements vary along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Waveland, MS


In some flood-prone areas, houses have to be higher. In some places WAY higher. Houses build before the change stand next to houses on stilts to follow the new rules.

To obtain flood insurance in flood hazard areas, occupants may be required to elevate units to heights established by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Some elevation requirements were changed by the federal government as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the specified heights vary substantially along the coast.

Elevated home in Waveland, Mississippi

Can these cottages be put on stilts? Maybe with a crane? This looks wider than a Mississippi Cottage.

Structural Design

The final specifications for Park Models and Cottages met or exceeded the requirements of the HUD code and the International Residential Code in several areas that directly affect the strength of the units.

The units were designed to resist the more stringent IRC standard of 150 miles per hour wind speed. Under the IRC, there are two standards for the coastal areas of Mississippi, and the selection of the 150 miles per hour standard allowed the MEMA units to be placed anywhere temporarily.

Example House Plans

Park Model Floor Plan (Click to Open Bigger)

One-Bedroom MAHP Park Model

  • 396 square feet
  • Full-size kitchen
  • Full-size bathroom
  • One small bedroom
  • Loft “attic” storage
1-Bedroom Eco Cottage Floor Plan (Click to Open Bigger)

One- and Two-Bedroom Eco-Cottages

  • Off-frame modular construction
  • Built using SIPs
  • Full-size kitchen
  • Full-size bathroom
  • One or two bedrooms
3-Bedroom Mississippi Cottage Floor Plan (Click to Open Bigger)

Two- or Three-Bedroom Mississippi Cottages

  • 728 or 840 square feet
  • Full-size kitchen
  • Full-size bathroom
  • Two or three bedrooms

Katrina Cottages, Mississippi Cottages and MAHP Park Models: Part 1 >