Pass Christian May Lose Public Housing - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/19/03

Pass Christian May Lose Public Housing

Pass Christian may lose its public housing. Last week the Region 8 Housing Authority notified the nearly 100 families of Camille Village that it intends to try to sell the property. In a letter the Housing Authority called the apartments "obsolete" and "unusable".

Some residents say they know Camille Village has its problems but its still their home and they want to stay. Neighbors Wanda Hardnett and Angela Smith worry this could be their last Christmas living in Camille Village. They say if public housing moves out of Pass Christian, they'll be forced to leave town too.

"If we have to relocate, there's not enough housing in Pass Christian to house all of the individuals here that's gonna have to move from Camille Village," said Angela Smith. "We'd have to relocate to Long Beach, Gulfport, Waveland, wherever."

Not only would their children have to change school districts, but residents say relocating would break up their close nit community.

"We have so many other residents that's been here all their lives and they don't know anything else but Camille Village," Hardnett said.

The Region 8 Housing Authority says the property is a burden that needs to sold. Since 1987, repairs from flooding and termites cost taxpayers $2.5 million.

"When we look at the safety. We look at the well being of our residents in addition to the financial costs. We just have to dispose of those units and that's why we're making an application to HUD to do so," Region 8 Housing Authority spokesman Jessie Billups said.

Billups says rebuilding would be too expensive, but residents still want to hear more options other than moving.

"To have to give it up would be a major catastrophe in our lives," resident Mark Fosselman said. "This is home. This is home."

HUD has to approve the sale before Camille Village can go on the market. The Housing Authority held a meeting with residents to discuss the situation. Officials say they will offer alternative housing and pay some moving expenses of displaced residents.

by Danielle Thomas

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