Affordable Housing Moves Forward In Biloxi - - The News for South Mississippi

Affordable Housing Moves Forward In Biloxi

After a year of post-Katrina obstacles and setbacks, affordable housing in East Biloxi is about to take a major step forward. The Biloxi Housing Authority says construction crews are two weeks away from starting repairs on more than 100 Hope Six units. And work is already underway on apartments for low income senior citizens.

While making plans to rebuild his 77-year-old mother's house, Joe Mitchell thinks of others her age who want do the same, but can't afford it. He believes apartments going up around the corner will offer more senior citizens a chance to remain in this Biloxi neighborhood.

"There's a lot of people I've talked to that's planning on moving in there that lost their homes," said Mitchell.  "The Point was made up of a lot of elderly people that's lived here their whole lives, and they still want to stay down here and not change."

The Biloxi Housing Authority would like to see tenants living in the Maple Street development by early winter. The residents would be over the age of 55 with low incomes.

Biloxi Housing Authority director Bobby Hensley said, "With the loss of Santa Maria Del Mar and the Methodist Elderly Housing complex, the elderly housing is a big issue. We're looking at potentially, if we can secure the funding and the property, building two more elderly sites. "

Hope Six is an affordable housing project for families of mixed income. It has been gutted and now is ready for repair. It will take a year for crews to finish renovating all 106 of the Hope Six units located south of Bayou August, but the first few homes should be ready for families in a few months.

Hensley says for people desperate for housing, that day can't come soon enough.

"We get calls daily, " he said  "People want to come back. You have more families wanting in here than we have units to accommodate. We completely lost two of our sites. One on the beach and one the back bay that were completely destroyed, so that makes this site that much more important for us to get in here and get people housed as quick as possible."

The Biloxi Housing Authority says $3.5 million has been secured to renovate the Hope Six units south of Bayou August. Director Bobby Hensley says there are also plans to repair 96 units north of the bayou, but the details are still being worked out.  

by Danielle Thomas

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