Affordable housing sits unused in Pascagoula

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi Housing and Development is having a difficult time leasing its affordable housing complexes in Pascagoula.  Morrison Village Senior Homes and Taylor Heights Apartments are part of $32 million development meant to offer luxury at a fair price. But officials worry the area's past could be affecting its future.

Huge signs and balloons adorn the entrance of both complexes as employees try to entice prospective tenants to fill more than a dozen vacant apartments.

"We do need to get the word out," Manager Lourie Nelson said.

Nelson is surprised she hasn't seen many new renters lately, because, she said, there is still a need for affordable housing in South Mississippi.

"The rents are a lot higher in some of those places. We offer some reduced rents because we are income restricted property," Nelson said.

South Mississippi Housing and Development's Jessie Billups said the multi-million dollar luxury apartments were built with tax credits. But the units sit on land that once housed the old Charles Warner Homes, a place with a long history of crime and drugs.

"They still consider Charles Warner to be a place you don't want to live," Billups said.

When that complex was torn down three years ago, the problems left along with it. Billups said the new development is safe, secure, and something to admire.

"This is a totally new property, totally new management, and totally new amenities.  The pervious issues or concerns a person may have had about this area is no longer an issue," Billups said.

Senior Citizen Fay Williams moved to Morrison Village less than a year ago and loves it.

"Where I was, it was very noisy and it wasn't pleasant to live," Williams said about her old apartment complex.

She believes those looking for someplace to live could benefit from this comfort and convenience.

"They don't know what they're missing out on."

Billups agrees.

"We are not here to just try to see how much money we can make. This property is here to assist families that have a real need for affordable housing."

Billups said Taylor Heights is open to any renter. You have to be 55 or older to stay in Morrison Village.  If you are interested in staying at either complex, please call (228) 934-2502.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.