Shelter Residents Moving To Tent City

Forest Jourden is getting used to packing and unpacking his bags. Hurricane Katrina flooded his Ocean Springs home just two weeks after he moved in. He pointed to some papers and said, "One of the few things that survived the storm".

Jourden is now staying at the D'Iberville Civic Center, but has been moving from one shelter to the next.

"Stayed there at the Vancleave one for about two weeks, and then we moved to the boat. I had to move off the boat, came over here. It's been tiresome, because I'm constantly moving," Jourden said.

Jourden says what he misses most is privacy. So when he heard about the tent city in D'Iberville, he immediately applied.

Kelly Derouen is the Tent City Manager.

"We have people that are putting in applications that are still living in their cars. Some of them even have children. Some people living in tents in their yards," Derouen said.

The 50 tents, built by Seabees and funded by FEMA, come with some of the comforts of home, especially as the weather gets cooler.

"They're not just tents. They are wooden structures covered by tents. They're climate controlled. They do have heat and air. They have lights. So it's not tent-living as most people think it is. It's a little more comfortable than that," Derouen said.

The tent city can hold up to 250 people. Once they move in, they're expected to stay for only three to six months.

Workers are still trying to clean up the site and make sure it has enough food, shower, and bathroom facilities.

Forest Jourden is eager to move in, even if it's only another temporary home.

"My long term goal is to get myself into an apartment, not a house. I learned my lesson on that one," Jourden said.

Once all the displaced residents in the D'Iberville area are moved in, and if there's more room, the manager says people who've been staying on the cruise ship at the Port of Pascagoula could apply to stay at the tent city.