OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Big changes are on the way for Bills Avenue in Ocean Springs.
A development company called Little Bluff has purchased 30 rental homes on the street with the intention of tearing them down and building newer upscale homes. People living there have until August 15th to move out. Even though the pathway to progress is coming, there will be some pain felt along the way.
Moving out is going to be tough for Justin Waltman and his family. "Just the struggle of coming up with money fast enough to basically get into a new home quickly. I had to come up with $800 dollars and a $400 dollar deposit," he said.
That thought is echoed by many, including resident James Coleman. "Just trying to find a place to live in a short amount of time and then affordable housing around in the area is just ridiculous. Trying to find somewhere close to work and everything."
Some have already left. For Theresa Jones, this couldn't have come at a worse time. "I recently lost within the same week my position where I was employed. So both scrambling for another place to work and to gather another place to reside has been gut wrenching for me," Jones lamented.
While the people who called Bills Avenue home for years are having a tough time finding a new place to stay, Alderman Joey Bellman says Little Bluff is doing everything it can to help.
"He's offering at least two months back rent, plus the deposit. He's trying to help them find places that will fit their budget and plus he's offered to help them move. Most builders would not give you any of that," Bellman said.
Another concern, the young ones who live here and are still in school. That's what's on the mind of mother Kelly Halstead. "The children, of course, want to be able to stay in the school that they're in and parents want the kids to be able to stay here also. Changing is so hard for children and we love the Ocean Springs school district."
In the end though, it really comes down to money for Halstead. "We'll end up paying over $300 dollars more than what we pay now for rent. Just to try and find something halfway reasonable."
In a statement e-mailed to WLOX News Now, company officials say they are excited about the opportunity to transform Bills Avenue with new infrastructure and homes that families will enjoy for many years. City leaders say construction could start by the end of the year.