Voucher program aims to move folks out of temporary housing

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Thowonda McCall is now one step closer to moving out of her MEMA cottage after attending HUD's housing voucher workshop in Waveland.

"He said I will be hearing from them. I have filled out like four applications already and I am hoping this time is going to be the lucky number," McCall said.

"The most important thing people need to realize is the deadline for the transitional housing program is not going to be extended," said Rhonda Rhodes with the Hancock Housing Resource Center.

The temporary housing program will end in March of 2010. HUD is trying to get the word out that people still needing rental assistance need to sign up for housing vouchers.

"The main thing is making that appointment, getting that application done and getting on that list, because like I said, all of us are going to work from that list," said Marcia Kruse with Bay-Waveland Section 8 Housing.

According to the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority, of the 500 vouchers allocated to the 14 southern counties, there are still vouchers available.  People still living in FEMA and MEMA trailers and those displaced by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita are at the top of list. In Hancock County, Rhonda Rhodes with the Hancock Housing Resource Center said she's seen a lot of cases where people want to rebuild, but don't want to leave their land.

"The thing that we're trying to convey to those people is that these vouchers can be a temporary solution while you secure the resources to rebuild your home. You need to have a safe place to live. A tent or a temporary structure on your property is not a safe place to live," Rhodes said.

The best place to start is your case manager, if you're in FEMA or MEMA housing. People are also encouraged to call or stop by their local housing authority or resource center for help.

For more information, you can call the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority's main line in Gulfport at (228) 831-2992.

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