Picayune receives first five Mississippi Cottages

Published 1:10 am Sunday, February 17, 2008

Five MEMA Mississippi Cottages were delivered to SunRoamer’s RV Resort Park on Friday, marking the first cottages to be delivered to Pearl River County.

Kathy Baucum, supervisor for Multifamily and Special Projects for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said that SunRoamer’s has been approved for a total of 30 cottages, with the remaining cottages to be delivered later. Baucum said Sarah Greenly will be the first resident to move in on Tuesday.

Stephanie Hennessey, MEMA supervisor for private property units for Pearl River County, said the cottages usually take about seven to 10 days to set up on a personal site from the day the units are delivered until the date a resident can move in. Baucum said the time is a little less on a commercial site.

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“We can set them up in a matter of days. In commercial sites, we have the septic and power hookups readily available, so it doesn’t take as long,” Baucum said.

The five units delivered on Friday are all one bedroom models, but Baucum said two- and three-bedroom models will be coming later.

“The one bedroom models have 400 square feet in them. They come furnished, and have what we call a living kit, which includes linens, dishes, pots and pans, silverware, pillows and kitchen utensils,” Baucum said.

“They have the basics. They come with a sleeper sofa, a microwave, a table, a refrigerator, a stove, central air and heat and a double bed in the master bedroom. The two- and three-bedroom models have single beds in the extra bedrooms,” Hennessey said.

The units also come with washer and dryer hookups, but not the appliances themselves.

Hennessey said the cottages are extremely well insulated, with power bills ranging from $25 to $30.

“The biggest power bill I’ve seen has been about $41. They’re so well insulated that when they cool off at night, during the next day they will be cooler inside than it is outside,” Hennessey said.

The cottages also each come with a front porch that is made of a composite that will not deteriorate, said Brenda Johnston, MEMA tracker for codes and power.

“People like the porches. It is part of our culture to sit on the front porch and have a glass of tea,” Hennessey said.

The units all come in a variety of colors, mostly pastels such as pink, blue and gray. They also come with a maintenance contract for the term of the lease, which will be until March of 2009 when the program ends.

“We will come out and service anything that is wrong with the unit for the remainder of the lease. We have a call line that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for people to call if they have trouble with the units,” Hennessey said.

The units are modular homes, not mobile homes, and are set up according to building code regulations. They are strapped and tied down to withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour.

Baucum said MEMA will be placing units in other mobile home parks around the county.

“If you don’t own your own property, and you qualify otherwise, we will try to find a place to put you,” Baucum said.

“The biggest misconception is that you have to be a property owner. You don’t have to own your own property to qualify for a cottage,” Hennessey said.

To be considered eligible for a cottage, Baucum said residents must have lived in Mississippi on the day of the storm, and must be currently living in a FEMA housing unit. There are no income requirements, Baucum said.

“This is an exciting day for us. We’re so glad to finally get these cottages in Pearl River County,” Johnston said.

Residents interested in seeing if they qualify for a cottage can call the MEMA call center at 1-866-726-6247.