Project Brings Hope To Public Housing Families - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/03/05

Project Brings Hope To Public Housing Families

The Biloxi Housing Authority 's "dream project" is slowly becoming reality. "Hope Six" is the ambitious plan to convert aging public housing into modern homes in a desirable neighborhood.

Despite some setbacks, the project is restoring hope to hundreds of families.

The summer sun shined brightly on brand new homes in East Biloxi. Newly built townhouses and duplexes are a dramatic improvement from the dilapidated, barracks style public housing that occupied the streets not long ago.

"This was a Hope Six program you know. And they said everybody that was on Hope Six would be able to move back over here, so I was on the Hope Six program," said Christine Combs.

She's most proud of her new kitchen.

"Everything here is total electric. The stove, I've got a light in the stove. I've done cooked in it, but you wouldn't believe it, huh?," Combs said, laughing.

The whole neighborhood looks new. And those who've moved in, couldn't be more proud.

Marla Handshaw moved in to her new place in February.

"It's nice. It's a real quiet neighborhood. You've got nice neighbors. It's real nice," she said.

After several setbacks and a few unexpected delays with Hope Six, some residents told us they began to wonder if this neighborhood would ever become reality. Now that families are moving in, those residents say it was well worth the wait.

Another 50 homes are getting some finishing touches before families move in. They may share the same initial reaction Christine Combs experienced.

"Oh, I could have passed out! I just looked at it before we moved in," she said, recalling her initial excitement.

It's the kind of response and quality of life improvement Hope Six planners envisioned when they drew the first plans for this community.

The Biloxi Housing Authority received a $35 million grant to launch the Hope Six project. Through tax credits and other incentives, the authority was able to leverage that amount to nearly $58 million in new construction.

By Steve Phillips

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