Don Culpepper Reports On Low Income Housing Rebound

This is first day back home for Baywood Apartment resident Betty Davis. She's one of about 25 residents and their families who've returned to this storm battered complex for elderly and disabled low income residents.

"I'm just real happy," says Davis. "I've just been so disorganized you know, moving around. So now I can get organized one more time."

Getting organized is also the goal of her first visitors, representatives from the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority.

"As you know everything flooded in the office so there is no change," explains a Housing Authority employee to Davis. "All we're doing is going around, getting you to sign new leases so you can have a copy of your lease."

"After we moved everybody out we're now bringing them back, the folks on the second floor anyway," says Jessie Billups, Public Relations Officer for the Housing Authority. "And so as a result of them coming back all the paper work has got to be updated and renewed."

But even as 2nd floor residents trickle back, scattered first floor residents and housing authority officials, remain unsure about the future.

"Across the 14 county area we took 80 percent damage in all properties," says Billips. "And of course at this point we're down 312 total units that are totally uninhabitable at this moment."

The hold up is money, or the lack of it. Billups says these first floor units are clean and ready for restoration.

"It would be a benefit for the whole community," says Billups. "So we really do need all the funding we can get to get these things back on line and unfortunately it's look like it might be a while before we get some funding, if any funding comes."

Unfortunate news Billups says, for the most unfortunate among us.

by Don Culpepper