What was once a deserted street in north Gulfport is now Habitat Village -- a community built by Habitat for Humanity. Most of the homes appeared before the words "Hurricane Katrina" became an agonizing part of our lives -- before housing in south Mississippi became such a critical need.
Larry Gluth took a sabbatical from Starbucks to oversee "Operation Home Delivery ."
"The spirit of the people, the commitment of the people, the dedication to really rebuild in this area is an inspiration, not only for myself, but really for all of us from Habitat," Gluth said right before a speech to the Gulfport Rotary Club.
The Habitat project headed up by Gluth promises 1,000 new homes for hurricane victims in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas.
"The biggest need that we have right now is land," he said. "So we have a very aggressive campaign going on right now for land acquisition."
Mr. Gluth was in Mississippi, meeting with groups like the Rotary and working on land acquisition projects, to build more homes like this one in north Gulfport. Gluth expects sponsors and volunteers to build about 300 new Habitat homes in south Mississippi by mid 2007. And that's just the beginning of Habitat for Humanity's commitment to rebuild the region.
"From Habitat's perspective, we're going to be looking at how do we build the next 1,000 and the thousand after that," he said. "We're making a long term commitment to this area."
That's why Gluth said it's so important to convince local property owners that selling or donating land to Habitat for Humanity is the best way to put hurricane victims on the road to recovery.