Modular Homes Slowly Replacing Hurricane Debris - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Modular Homes Slowly Replacing Hurricane Debris

Building inspectors in Pass Christian and D'Iberville praised the factory built homes. They liked the sturdy construction. And they loved how quickly modular homes allowed hurricane victims to move back home.

The early modular home building rush is out west, where hurricane victims in towns like Pass Christian don't have to wait for contractors to move back home.  In fact, a modular homes was being hammered together Wednesday on the corner of East Second Street and Swanson Avenue.

Across the street, Lana Zeiss toyed with the idea of buying a similar pre-fabricated home for her lot. However, "I think that we'll go with the stick construction," she said.

In Pass Christian, where Katrina destroyed so many homes, people now have a choice. They can rebuild their homes the traditional way. Or they can have modular homes erected on their lots.

Everywhere city leaders go these days, they see more and more of the new style construction popping up on properties. Why? One reason has to do with the time it takes to get a traditional home built. 

"We don't have enough people to build homes right here in Pass Christian," inspector Kenny Wittmann said.

It's a similar story in D'Iberville. City inspector Wallace Freeman is all for the modular home revolution.

"I see a place for our people to get off the streets and out of the trailers," he said.

However, despite as many as 600 homes sustaining significant storm damage, a model on Byrd Avenue was the only modular home in the city.

"We just can't seem to make it happen," he said, noting that D'Iberville had hosted modular home expos to show people how they could replace their hurricane ravaged homes.

Freeman can't understand why the pre-fab homes haven't taken off yet. WLOX News checked around. There haven't been any modular home sales in Gulfport or Biloxi yet. Only one modular home has been set up in D'Iberville. And Ocean Springs has just four of the factory built homes.

Freeman considers the factory build home a solid option for hurricane victims.

"These houses here, once they're set on a foundation, there just as good or better than that house there," Freeman said, pointing to a stick built house across the street.

Lana Zeiss researched modular homes at the Governor's recent expo. Cost was one of the big reasons why she decided her next home would be built from the ground up on her property.

"It's still pricey," she said.

Other unknowns also swayed her decision.

"I don't know if it's a mindset or if it's just from what we've seen that's available," she said. "Personally, I think we would go with that, with the stick building though."

Hurricane Homes produces modular homes at a factory in Pascagoula.  In about a week, its first two pre-fab homes will leave the factory, and be delivered and set up at properties in Jackson County.

by Brad Kessie

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