Agency needs help finishing homes by end of year - - The News for South Mississippi

Agency needs help finishing homes by end of year


During the holiday season, you won't find as many volunteers coming to South Mississippi to help rebuild homes that were damaged or destroyed by Katrina. But that won't stop one agency from carrying out its New Year's resolution. The group is determined to give several families a new home for the new year.

With just their hands and every day tools, volunteers from Fort Meyers, Florida, are tearing apart a house in Gulfport. The house was heavily-damaged by Katrina. HOPE CDA certainly knows the value of the volunteers.

"We still had buildings standing yesterday and this is how far they've gotten in just two days. This has been a really good group and we really appreciate them, outstanding individuals," said Bruce Wayne Palmer, Hope CDA Project Manager.

Hope CDA needs additional volunteers to help with another, more ambitious goal -- finish rebuilding four other Katrina-damaged homes by December 31st.  That's a-week-and-half away.

"We're striving. We got one or two that are fairly close. We're hoping that we can get them in," said Bill Stallworth, Hope CDA Executive Director.

One house is in east Biloxi. It belongs to a single mother and her four children.

"It's going to be a nice little home. They've already started cleaning up the back yard," Stallworth said.

The family members have been separated, staying with different relatives until their new home is ready.

"We do a home dedication or a house warming. Sometimes, just the look on those faces, you get that 'whew', it's finally over kind of thing going on. It's really encouraging," said Stallworth.  "We're really, really, really close to that one. We might be able to pull a miracle off still at Christmas time."

It's a miracle that will bring a family together once again in a permanent home.

Hope CDA plans to repair or build 74 more homes by the end of 2012. The agency is also building nine houses that will be up for sale to people who qualify for subsidized mortgages.

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