Housing help in Hancock County

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - For Greg Garrett of Bay St. Louis, the grant process has proven to be a frustrating one.

"Either someone doesn't have a clue what they're doing, or they're stalling," Garrett said.

Those were his thoughts after he received an appeal letter for a denied MDA grant to elevate his home. The problem is Garrett had actually been approved for the grant.

"Why would I appeal after being accepted?"

These were just some of the issues the Mississippi Center for Justice sorted through Thursday evening during its free legal clinic in Bay St. Louis.

"We recognize there's a need here in this area, and we're trying to connect with those people," said Crystal Utley with the Mississippi Center for Justice.

One of those people is Mimi Sherrouse. She's a volunteer for the Lagniappe Presbyterian Church, which hosted the clinic.

The center has helped her fight contractor fraud in the past.  Recently, she sought help as she and other Waveland residents brought a legal case against the city. It involved Waveland residents battling to keep MEMA cottages on their property.

"Without them, we would be in the trailer parks, and we wouldn't have been able to keep the cottages on our property. A lot of us would have lost our MEMA cottages," Sherrouse said.

To keep resources in Hancock County, the center just received a grant to focus solely on housing issues in the county.

"It builds our capacity to be able to reach people directly. Andrew, our staff lawyer working in Hancock County, has gone so far as to go door to door to find out what the problems are," Utley said.

Attorneys with the Center for Justice encourage people still dealing with MEMA, FEMA or MDA related issues to contact them. They also cover a wide-range of social issues including foreclosure, healthcare and education. You can call them at (228) 435-7284.

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