Mississippi Alternative Housing Pilot Program


Hagerty was asked by the State of Mississippi to develop and implement a plan for a permanent housing program to benefit disaster-affected residents impacted by Hurricane Katrina.


After Hurricane Katrina left so many thousands of people without homes, Congress created the Alternative Housing Pilot Program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and allocated $400 million to fund it. The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program (MAHP) applied for and received part of the grant — $281 million — to be administered by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The grant required MAHP to identify, develop, and evaluate safer and more comfortable alternatives than FEMA’s temporary Disaster Housing trailers and group sites; transition the units from temporary to permanent housing; and address approaches to unit management while housing Katrina survivors in the lower six counties of the State of Mississippi.


Hagerty developed a strategy and implemented a plan to permanently house disaster-affected Mississippi residents using “temporary” Mississippi or eco cottages. Under contract to PBS&J (now part of Atkins), Hagerty shaped all aspects of the permanent housing program, including developing a strategy to convert the cottages into permanent housing solutions; advising MEMA on major decision points; providing analyses on the potential benefits and challenges associated with various proposed courses of action; initiating a Cottage Sales Program; liaising with local elected officials and representatives from the nonprofit sector to win support for permanent cottages; and assessing and recommending improvements to the temporary Cottage Program.

The cottages were distributed in four ways: individual purchase, as a donation to a nonprofit, as a donation to a government agency, or auction. Hagerty took the lead on developing the Mississippi Cottage sales program and donation program for MAHP, developing supporting documents such as the program guide, sales process, eligibility criteria, applicant prioritization schedule, and tracking process. Hagerty also played a pivotal role in communicating programmatic information to local communities, including elected officials, to win support and approval from host jurisdictions for permanent cottages.


The Mississippi and eco cottages were well received and successfully embraced by the community. As of February 2011, 1003 cottages were sold to individuals, 435 were donated, 338 were deployed, and 350 were auctioned. Many of the donations went to nonprofits who were awarded and accepted ownership of cottages for permanent placement, often as demonstration projects.