MEMA sets cottage meetings

Published 4:26 am Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will be holding several meetings in Picayune and Poplarville next week to inform residents about eligibility requirements to receive a Mississippi Cottage.

Ashley Roth of MEMA External Affairs said in a phone interview Wednesday that the meetings will be held in Picayune at Roseland Park Baptist Church on 2130 Highway 11 North on Monday, Jan. 21, and Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Poplarville meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, at First Baptist Church on 203 South Main Street from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Roth said individuals interested in attending are encouraged to bring their FEMA case number, a copy of the property title or deed and/or their latest property tax receipt, proof of identification and a recent utility bill.

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Residents interested in applying for a Mississippi Cottage must currently be living in a FEMA housing unit, whether it is a mobile home or a travel trailer, Roth said. Interested individuals must be a current resident of Pearl River County, must have been a permanent resident of Pearl River, Jackson, Harrison or Hancock Counties at the time of Hurricane Katrina, and must be listed as the applicant or the co-applicant for FEMA housing assistance.

Roth said because of the cost involved with setting up and taking down the cottages, residents must also certify that they will need to remain in the cottage for at least six months after moving into the home.

“If they’re in the process of building a house and will be moving into that house within a month or two, they would not be eligible. They will need to prove that they will need the cottage for at least six months after the date of occupancy,” Roth said.

The cottages will also need to be placed on private land, Roth said.

“If an applicant does not own land in the county, they can rent land or get a piece of land from family where we can place the cottage. We can also try to find them a spot in a community park or group site,” Roth said.

Roth said MEMA is still in the process of working to place more cottages in the three lower coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson, for which the original grant money was received.

“The funding for the Mississippi Cottage program came from a grant totaling $281 million, which MEMA estimated would be used to build approximately 3,000 units. So far, over 1,200 have been placed and occupied in the three lower coastal counties,” Roth said.