Public housing returns to the bay - - The News for South Mississippi

Public housing returns to the bay


The wait is over for some public housing residents in Bay St. Louis.  The Bay Pines Apartments officially opened Wednesday.  The complex replaces the housing units destroyed by Katrina more than six years ago.  For some this was a true homecoming.

The re-opening of the Bay Pines housing complex meant Patti Dungan could return to the Coast.  She was forced to move to Indiana with her sister after Katrina washed away her Hancock County home.  " I was away from home and this is home.It just means everything in the world that I have a home for the first time in many years." said Dungan.

She will have 100 neighbors in cottages similar to hers.

During a news conference to announce the opening of Bay Pines, Mississippi HUD director Jerrie Megruder said, "Housing that is energy efficient which will afford residents more disposable income, housing that will be sustainable for years to come. Housing that this community can embrace as a show piece as what affordable housing should be."

Since Katrina, the Gulf Coast Housing Director has been Gerald Blessey.  He's proud of the $27 million public housing complex, and says it will enhance the community.  "We had so many people who were really concerned about seeing that not only that Bay St. Louis would come back but would come back with it's special spirit and favor. And this example of public housing I think is a model now for the whole nation," Blessey said.

For Patti Dungan, six years of waiting to come home is finally over.  "Having this place to me is everything," she explained.

The new neighborhood also pays tribute two long-time public servants by naming two streets in their honor.  The widows of Lucien Kidd and Andrew Lizana received replicas of the street signs.

Lizana served as fire chief in Bay St. Louis.  He was the first African American fire chief in Mississippi.  

And Kidd held several city and county jobs over the years.

Mayor Les Fillingame called the tribute fitting for two people who served the community well.

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