Local Charities Work To Rebuild Homes

Pastor Eddie Hartwell doesn't have to walk far in his Gulfport neighborhood to find people in need of help.

He's providing that help the best way he knows how, by getting people back in their neighborhoods with roofs over their heads.

"This is our 3rd home where we've had all volunteer labor and for the most part donated material," says Hartwell.

Working through the St. James Baptist Church Disaster Relief Fund, Reverend Hartwell has become the conduit between the flood of those in desperate need of help, and those desperately wanting to provide it.

"We'll direct the resources and the volunteers to where the needs are," says Hartwell.

The home of 74 year old Kattie Sheilds in North Gulfport is next on his needs list.

"I have a group out of Oklahoma that has partnered with us on her house. It was already in bad shape before the storm."

Construction begins on Mother Kattie Shield's new home early next month.

By the end of March they hope to have 10 such homes complete.

Beyond that, Pastor Hartwell says the need really has no end, and he hope the charitable giving that make this program possible won't end anytime soon either.

"All of the experts are saying it going to take anywhere between 8 to 10 years to get our coast back up to where it was," says Hartwell. "There are a lot of people, especially old people, handicapped people, single mothers, who were either uninsured or under insured and are not going to be able to recover on their own."

And they won't have to says Hartwell, thanks to giving nature of those living outside of Hurricane Katrina's footprint of destruction.