Good news rumbled out of Washington earlier this week regarding the Katrina Cottages. In an unprecedented step, the senate is considering allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide inexpensive, permanent housing to Americans who have lost their homes to a natural disaster. The key word here is “permanent,” which currently prevents funding for the 300ft-sq Katrina Cottages.

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The decision will be made next week by the Senate Appropriations Committee, headed by GOP Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi. Along with a consideration to add money to the $19 billion request from President Bush to rebuild the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita; Mississippi officials also hope that the panel will approve funding to build 20,000 Katrina Cottages.

Current law only allows FEMA to provide temporary housing to disaster victims, which has already resulted in the placement of over 37,000 trailers in the Gulf Coast. Governors of both Mississippi and Louisiana are arguing that there are better options considering residents of South Florida are still occupying FEMA trailers more than 13 years following Hurricane Andrew.

Meanwhile, designer Marianne Cusato hasn’t given up hope, unveiling Katrina Cottage II (pictured above, plan below) last week at a Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot in St. Bernard Parish, LA. The second version is larger than the first at 600 sq. ft and includes two small bedrooms, a kitchenette, a full bathroom, and a living room. Like the original, the Cottage design is based on the vernacular architecture of the Gulf Coast region.

+ Katrina Cottage + Katrina Cottage on Inhabitat