$12.3 million public housing opens in Waveland

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Public housing returns to Hancock County Tuesday. Oak Haven is a $12.3 million development in Waveland and is the first revitalized public housing property in Hancock County since Hurricane Katrina.

Geared toward seniors, Oak Haven has 80 units. It's one of two post-Katrina Hancock County public housing projects partly funded through federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The Mississippi Development Authority administers the federal money.

"The opening of Oak Haven means more than the availability of a roof over the head for residents," Karen Ladner, Bay-Waveland Public Housing Director said. "Oak Haven symbolizes a return home to a community where families were raised in both happy, prosperous times and in tragedies such as Katrina. Our residents always overcome tragedy, and the opening today demonstrates their perseverance."

The second public housing project in Hancock County is the $21.7 million Bay Pines project in Bay St. Louis. That 100-unit development is now under construction.

To replenish the Coast's public housing stock, MDA has allocated more than $100 million. That money has provided funds and financial leverage to help complete some 2,500 new or rehabilitated public housing units in the Coastal counties. Hancock County has been the exception according to Gerald Blessey, MDA's Gulf Coast Housing Director.

"In Bay-Waveland it took longer to work through the more stringent-post-Katrina federal flood requirements, but now we have completed a very attractive project that will meet the Governor's overall objective of rebuilding stronger and better --- going beyond just rebuilding, but remaking and redefining what public housing really is," Blessey said.

Tuesday morning, state and local leaders will hold a ceremony to open Oak Haven.

Hancock County reporter Al Showers will cover the opening of Oak Haven Tuesday. You can follow his updates throughout the day on WLOX News and WLOX.com.

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