Major Home Builder Wants To Help The Coast's Most Needy

He calls Governor Haley Barbour a friend. However, when Barbour called businessman Larry Mizel to get involved rebuilding Mississippi, Mizel politely said, "Not right now."

Instead, the Denver home builder went to work raising money to help people who fell through the cracks in the various relief efforts. On Wednesday, Mizel came to the coast to review some places to use the $800,000 his company and employees raised.

When it comes to having descent, affordable housing, Reverend Eddie Hartwell believes there should be room at the table for everyone.

"If you would meet some of the widows, the handicapped people, the single moms we're trying to help, then I'm certain you would certainly understand that," he said.

Rev. Hartwell works with Interfaith Disaster Relief. He was eager to bring Larry Mizel into the discussion. Mizel has already pledge some of the money his employees and company raised to the Task Force.

"We've raised a little money," said Mizel. "We've designated it for individuals and organizations that the main system misses."

At the foot of the destroyed Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge, city council member Bill Stallworth explained the plight of people trying to rebuild their homes in Point Cadet and East Biloxi. Mizel took the words to heart.

"Not only getting a first hand evaluation of the needs but also a chance to meet people as yourself so we can start building a relationship that will transcend time," Mizel said.

As a person who builds homes for a living, Mizel says it's difficult to see so many people who've lost theirs.

"My son says that we're in a noble profession because we actually do something that matters and affects people's lives. That's the ability to have a home. So I'm glad that I'm able to continue in that role and to help people."

Seeing the need, has convinced Larry Mizel he's putting his money in the right place and he hopes to convince his friends and colleagues to help here too.

Denver based M.D.C. is among the country's 10 largest home builders. After giving some money to the Interfaith Disaster Task Force, the company is still deciding how to divvy up the rest of the $800,000 donation.