GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - After a nearly year long wait, a Gulfport family is celebrating a fresh start in a new home. Catherine and Luther Taylor said their previous home on Polk Street was old and heavily damaged by Katrina. The Hope Community Development Agency held a dedication ceremony for the Taylors' new house.
Hope CDA Director Bill Stallworth had happy news for the Taylor family on Thursday, but 10 months ago Stallworth had to deliver the message that the elderly couple's home of more than 40 years was damaged beyond repair.
"He said 'I have to tell you something,'" said Catherine Taylor. "I said 'Well, what is it?' He said 'We might have to demolish your house, we're not going to be able to fix it'. It hurt but I knew that it had to be true because they had to be working on it and it had to be demolished."
Now, the Taylors and their grandson, Cole, are enjoying their brand new home. Over the next few months, Hope CDA officials said the agency will wrap up work on 16 more homes and start construction on four others.
"Home ownership is one of the strongest facets of any community," said Bill Stallworth. "The more we can get people back into their homes, the more stable the community becomes. Now the property values are increased. Hopefully they will be able to improve landscape. This is going to be a whole new start for this community because each one of these homes, particularly in the areas that we serve, are sometimes dilapidated, are sometimes very run down so the more we can build up. The more we can fix, the better it makes it for those communities."
Rebuilding these communities would not be possible without volunteers.
"I never will forget hope and the volunteers because they help us to get where we are now. No place is like home so we are just happy to be back," Taylor said.
Hope CDA also presented Catherine and Luther Taylor with a gift certificate to help them with their needs in their new home.