Nashville Church Spearheading Plans To Build Gulfport Neighborhood

Every city in South Mississippi has felt the crunch from the lack of affordable housing. Because of that, businesses are having a hard time filling positions, and people who would like to move back here simply can't afford to.

Monday night, a church leader out of Nashville presented the Gulfport City Council with a plan to help ease the housing crunch and to build an entire community.

Katrina heavily damaged or destroyed about 3,000 homes in Gulfport, leaving thousands of residents without the foggiest idea whether they'll rebuild and worst yet, whether they can afford to rebuild.

"We can get a house framed in about two days, and the windows and doors in within less than two weeks. And that gives us the means of permitting volunteers to come in then and help with it," said Charles Jones of Brentwood Hills Church of Christ.

Jones says the 300 to 400 homes built under the plan would be made to last.

"Our proposal for here would be to use the insulated panel type structures that would have 150 mph wind rate and would meet all the engineering codes from the state," Jones said.

Jones says donations for the project would help defray the cost of building materials, and volunteers would provide much of the labor. A site for the development has not yet been chosen, but those spearheading the effort, would like to build in one of the city's worst-hit areas.

"Because it's much easier to work with something that's gone than trying to repair things that are already there," Jones said.

The price of the homes would begin at about $100,000 for a 1,500-square foot home. Jones and city leaders are set to discuss the proposal in more detail Tuesday.