Congressional Delegation Meets In Gulfport

The congressional Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development held an official hearing at Gulfport City Hall Saturday morning.

It's goal was simple- to find out where the problems are regarding post Katrina housing, why are there problems, and what if anything can be done to help solve those problems.

"The process and the lengthy amount of time residents have had to wait to receive temporary housing has been a difficult issue. Of those 13-thousand county-wide request for temporary housing, there are approximately 25-hundred people in Harrison County still waiting on trailers," said Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr.

Subcommittee members say they're concerned about permanent housing and what more the government can do to make life easier for everyone affected.

They posed quite a few questions to the panel made up of both local and state officials, ranging from insurance...

"Have you done anything to deal with the problems of Mississippians who paid their insurance and now the insurance companies are trying not to pay their claims? What action have you taken to try to help people in that situation?,"asked Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

"To be honest with you, I have not seen that information," said director of the Governor's Office of Recovery and Renewal Dr. Gavin  Smith.


"What are doing to expedite the ability to get these trailers in use?," asked Rep. Waters.

"There is a slowdown in the site. The site has to be identified. It has to be rendered safe. Then the utilities have to be identified. The trailer put on and leveled. Then utilities indvidually put into that travel trailer. That is an inefficient wait to put a travel trailer on that site," said FEMA James Russo.

"This is not the last natural disaster. I still have 5-thousand families with no trailers, and I keep hearing somebody is gonna fix it. It's not getting fixed. Now I can't control federal employees. You can," said Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi.

All of the suggestions at Saturday's meeting will be compiled into a report reviewed by members of the House's Committee on Financial Services.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold another hearing in Mississippi next week as part of its investigation into the preparation for and in response to Katrina.

That meeting will be on Tuesday at the Jefferson Davis Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport at 10:15 am.

The public is invited to attend.