South Mississippians Feel Housing Crunch

According to Bechtel company, about 85,000 people are living in some type of temporary housing provided by FEMA.

Many of these displaced residents would like to find some type of permanent housing, but with the housing crunch, it may be a while before that happens for many people.

For sale and rent signs are popping up in front of homes throughout South Mississippi, but with their increased market value, buying or renting these homes is out of many people's reach--especially those who lost their homes in the storm.

"They are definitely out of my price range because I'm disability, and I just can't afford it," said Mary Odom.

Katrina destroyed the Biloxi home Odom had been living in for the past 25 years.

She's been living in a FEMA trailer the past few months, and would like to move into some form of permanent housing.

"We looked for apartments and stuff, but there were none available, so we are still in the trailer. I don't know what we're going to do from here," Odom said.

Odom says the company she had her home insured with hasn't done much to help out.

"They said that they would give me a thousand dollars for my roof. How could they give me a thousand dollars when my whole house was destroyed? You know, they said it was flooded out, and that's all they would give me. I don't have anything. I can't even rebuild back," Odom said.

Finding affordable housing and struggles with insurance companies are just two of the major problems displaced residents are facing in the aftermath of the storm.

While many people like Odom have deep roots here in South Mississippi, and say they would like to stay, they just don't know if they can afford to.

To help alleviate some of the problems contributing to the housing crunch, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California is urging state lawmakers to pass legislation to more strictly regulate insurance companies.

Waters was part of Congressional Subcommittee that toured Gulfport on Saturday.

As for the cost of housing and apartment rentals, private owners can set the price at whatever they like, as long as they're not under current contract or lease with tennants.