MEMA Cottage Program Coming To An End - - The News for South Mississippi

MEMA Cottage Program Coming To An End

BAY ST. LOUIS (WLOX) -- Terry Koehn had hoped to be out of his FEMA trailer soon and into a cottage. He knows now, MEMA will not send one to him.

"We've been promised for six weeks now a Katrina Cottage, a three bedroom one. We made space for it, we cleared the back lot for it. And every time we called in, they'd say, 'It's in the works. It's in the works. Somebody is going to come out.' But the latest information is that it's not going to happen," Koehn said.

Koehn received a letter from MEMA two days ago which said the cottage program has come to an end and that all applications that haven't already been permitted, have been placed on hold.

"We're upset. We feel it's a breach of commitment and I don't understand," Koehn said.

MEMA Spokesman Jeff Rent told WLOX News, "We said from the beginning, not everyone who wanted a cottage would receive one. We are starting to run out of the cottages."

Koehn said, "We're very disappointed and we feel misled."

Koehn says he's still six months to a year away from finishing storm repairs on his home. FEMA wants to get everyone out of trailers, and Koehn says he can't take trailer life much longer anyway.

"Extremely cramped. We're three handicapped seniors and this just isn't going to work for us. We need that kind of space," Koehn said.

Enam Joseph still doesn't still doesn't know if he'll get a cottage. Like Koehn, he's still a long way off from getting back into his home.

"It's bigger than that. You get claustrophobia sitting in that, so who wouldn't want anything bigger? That's why I want one, just something with a little more space," Joseph said.

MEMA has issued nearly 2,500 cottages to storm victims, but officials couldn't say how many more may still be delivered before the program ends in March of next year.

The MEMA spokesman told WLOX NEWS, those who have qualified for a cottage and didn't receive one would be put on a waiting list. As cottages are turned in, those on the list may receive one.

MEMA's letter also directs people to FEMA or local private outreach programs.

By Al Showers

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