Program could transform trailer park into MEMA cottage oasis - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Program could transform trailer park into MEMA cottage oasis

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GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) -

By Doug Walker - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The Isle of Pines on Highway 90 in Gautier could use some work.  Many of the mobile homes are in disrepair.  A Katrina home repair grant program could be the answer, replacing storm damaged homes with newer and nicer MEMA cottages.  Some are already in the park. 

When the grant program was first announced last year, mobile homes were not included.  Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said now they are.  

"We went to Jackson and helped them re-word it where mobile homes would be involved," Fortenberry said. "You know, a mobile home is a home also."

Robin Albair and her husband applied for the grant.  The roof of their home took a beating in August of 2005.  

"My home has had damage due to Katrina and my husband is unable to fix it and we cannot afford it to come out of pocket to fix it." 

I had a chance to talk with several of the residents who live in the mobile home park. Even though some of them have not applied for the grant program and have no hopes of getting a cottage, they're still supporters of the program.

One of those is Robert DeJesus, who likes the idea of the cottage.  He has one right next door.

"It would be a great improvement to the neighborhood and it would bring good people into the neighborhood when you find good things in it," DeJesus said. 

Samantha Abell is the economic development director in Gautier. To her, the program is much more than just housing.  

"We're building community," Abell said.  "As much as it is about improving people's living conditions, it's also about building communities. So we're very pleased that we've been able to work with the residents of Isle of Pines." 

And that work may result in a better quality of life for the hundreds who live here. 

Of those who live in the mobile home park, 41 have applied for the repair grants, which can be as high as $75,000. They hope to have answers about their applications by the end of March.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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