Housing advocates urge homeowners to apply for grant money

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) – "You see the house?  It's falling apart," Doris Everett said as she pointed to the back of her home.

Rotting plywood and blue tarp still cover the windows of Everett's home on Winona Drive. Inside, the roof damage from Hurricane Katrina allowed rain water to seep in, ruining the electrical wiring.

"So I'm running wires from here to there to get light up in here," Everett explained.

Plumbing problems prevent Everett from using her kitchen. And the ceilings in both bedrooms are about to cave in.

"It's very hard living up in here and knowing that in some spots, it's mold," she said. "I'm the only one working, so my income is not as much."

"There is a high unmet need here in Moss Point," Reilly Morse, an attorney for the Mississippi Center for Justice.

Using Everett's Moss Point home as a backdrop Tuesday, the Steps Coalition and other organizations urged people who are still displaced by Katrina to apply for the new Neighborhood Home Program.

The state and HUD have set aside $132 million to repair low-income homes that were damaged by water or wind. Qualified homeowners and some renters can receive up to $75,000 and possibly more.  But the deadline to apply is January 31, 2011.

The program was announced just last week and already, 2,800 people have registered. However, housing advocates say there are thousands of people who still either live in damaged homes or don't have a permanent place to live.

"We want to make sure that every last person who's got hurricane damage today, that needs help repairing, gets taken care of," said Morse. "So please help us get the word out about this. If you don't come in and register, this is the last time. So y'all got to do it."

Doris Everett plans to apply for the grant, so her son, brother and two grandchildren can have a safe place to live.

"I think it's a wonderful program. I think they will help me a lot, I really do. And I thank them a lot," said Everett. "I think there is hope in this house. It's a nice house."

"We celebrate and we give thanks to your work because it has brought us to this day, a day filled with hope that the Neighborhood Program will provide the funds to those households to meet their unmet housing needs," said Steps Coalition Executive Director Roberta Avilla.

To apply for the program, you must go to one of the following Housing Resource Centers:

Forrest County

Forrest County Multipurpose Center
962 Sullivan Rd.
Hattiesburg, MS 39401-2714
601- 544-5115

Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi (R3SM)
1715 Hardy St, Suite 40
Hattiesburg, MS 39401

George County

LESM Lucedale, George County
52 Virginia St.
Lucedale, MS 39452

Hancock County

Hancock Resource Center
454 Highway 90, Suite B
Waveland, MS 39576

Harrison County

IRD Housing Resource Center of Harrison County
1223 30th Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39501

Hope Community Development Agency
425 Division Street
Biloxi, MS 39530

Jackson County

IRD Housing Resource Center of Jackson County
4836 Main Street
Moss Point, MS 39563

Jones County

The Magnolia Center
1457 Ellisville Blvd.
Laurel, MS 39440-5417

Lamar County

Lamar County Multipurpose Center
43 Central Industrial Row
Purvis, MS 39475

Pearl River County

LESM Picayune, Pearl River County
1421 Goodyear Blvd.
Picayune, MS 39466

Stone County

H.A Brown UMC
200 N. Azalea Drive (Hwy 49)
Wiggins, MS 39577

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