After MEMA reclaims cottage, couple says, 'We're homeless'

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A North Hancock County couple is homeless after watching their MEMA cottage get hauled away Tuesday. The cottage was located on the couple's property on Old Bouie Road off of Steephollow Road near Interstate 59.

"We don't have no where to go. We're homeless," Charlotte Hellmers said. "They showed up here this morning at a quarter to eight with cars, and trucks, and everything else. Cutting the straps off the cottage, taking the blocking, turned the air conditioner off, turn the power off."

Charlotte and her husband, Robert, were trying to purchase the cottage. They said they'd even paid for it, but never went to a closing because MEMA discovered there was a tax lien on the property.

"I have a lawyer working on the tax lien. We went to court and the judge gave an extension for my lawyer to get the tax lien removed. He could not get the IRS to respond."

In the meantime, the couple said their MEMA case worker told them to apply for the MDA home grant to finish storm repairs on their house.

"They said they would work with us. Since we applied for the grant program, not to worry about it. We never heard nothing since December. I just took it for granted that everything was okay since December. And here they come and they are throwing us out. We can't get everything out. They're giving us an hour."

The Hellmers said that lack of notification is what really makes them mad. They said a little warning would have been nice.

"We're both handicapped. We can not lift anything," Charlotte Hellmers said.

"If they take our stuff we ain't got nothing," Robert Hellmers said. "We're out on the streets. As it is, we ain't got no place to go."

A MEMA spokesman told WLOX News the couple was given a 120 day extension before they had to vacate the property. But that time is now up.

The MEMA spokesperson also said no one ever told the agency that the tax lien issue was still unresolved. He said he didn't know why the couple was not notified that a crew would be coming to take the cottage.

The Hellmers' attorney contacted the governor's office, with the hope of getting the cottage returned. However the MEMA spokesman told us, the cottage program has ended and there's no money available to continue to move cottages.

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