Alternative Disaster Housing


I have worked as a recovery manager and subject matter expert for the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following hurricanes Ivan and Katrina and the 2011 tornados in Alabama., During that time I developed a number of disaster housing concepts.


The material I am providing is broken into the following sections:


Alabama Tornados 2011


The Town of Cordoba, AL rejected the use of temporary FEMA trailers within their community. The following is a proposal to FEMA for alternative modular temporary housing unit that could be expanded to become attractive, permanent housing.


PDF: Expandable Modular Temporary Housing (PDF)

HTML Version:  Expandable Modular Temporary Housing ( HTML)


Mississippi/Katrina Cottages


Following Hurricane Katrina, the State of Mississippi was awarded a grant from the FEMA-funded Alternative Housing Pilot Program (AHPP) to develop a prototype alternative disaster housing unit. In my role as a Housing Recovery Specialist for FEMA in Mississippi, I designed a number expansion options to those units to allow them to function as permanent housing and promote greater acceptance by the local community. Several of these expansion designs where successfully built by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates.


The following are links to the PowerPoint presentation I made at the AHPP conference held February, 2009 describing these concepts. Included in the presentation are the original designs produced by the State of Mississippi along with the expansion options I developed. Of particular relevance to the situation in Haiti, are my recommendations for an approach which differs from the original Mississippi program in that it starts out with more basic mass-produced “core” modules specifically designed to be combined or expanded over time through sweat equity and the efforts of volunteer organizations. In this manner, homes and communities become indistinguishable from conventional housing.


PDF: AHPP Expansion Alternatives Power Point Show Print Version

Print version of the presentation without background images.


PPS: AHPP Expansion Alternatives Power Point Show with Sound

Power Point Show: 40meg file that contains full graphics and narration.

JPG: Image Slide Show



Mississippi Cottage Communities


After the initial placement of the Mississippi Cottages throughout the affected coastal areas, the State of Mississippi offered the cottages for permanent placement by local governments and non-profit corporations.  At the request of the State of Mississippi, I prepared community design standards as well as prototypical village plans for the placement of the cottages.


PDF: Example of Original Mississippi Cottages arranged as a Cottage Court


PDF: Example of modified Cottages and Duplexes arranged as a Neighborhood


JPG: Image Slide Show



Joint Housing Solutions Center (JHSC) / Transitional Neighborhoods


The Joint Housing Solutions Center (JHSC) was organized by FEMA in conjunction with HUD and USDA following Hurricane Katrina to consider alternative approaches to addressing disaster housing needs. As a staff member of the Center and ultimately its Deputy Operations Manager, I formulated several schematic concepts demonstrating how a temporary group site intended for mass-produced disaster housing could be designed cost-effectively to allow the infrastructure to be ultimately modified to support permanent housing.


PDF: Transitioning FEMA Temporary Housing to Permanent Neighborhoods (Schematic)

JPG: Image Slide Show


I also developed concepts for disaster housing units that start out as small duplexes during the initial recovery stages but can be converted to larger, permanent single family dwellings.


PDF: 3D Renderings for Temp-to-Perm Structures


PPS: Power Point: Multiplex Temporary Structures that Convert to Single Family Homes (schematic)