Low-Income Senior Housing Reopens In The Bay - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Low-Income Senior Housing Reopens In The Bay

The community room at the "Notre Dame de la Mer" had always been a gathering place for birthdays, bingo, and afternoon coffees until Katrina ruined the party.

"This room was destroyed," said property manager Michele Tine. "It filled up to four feet of water."

The storm gutted the first floor of the Bay St. Louis complex, destroying the kitchen, offices and 12 apartments.

"All of their furniture was turned upside down," said Tine.

Tine was determined to get the complex livable again for her residents and other seniors who had no place to go.

"It hurt desperately when I would look into their eyes," said Tine. "I knew what they were facing and being seniors in your late 70s, 80s, even their 60s, it's like I don't have a home anymore and I've got to start over. And I'm sitting here with a building that I know as soon as I can get it open up and running, I've got a home for all these people."

The complex is sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi. It is government-subsidized housing, which means the federal government pays a portion of the residents' rent.

Eunice Serio is one of 23 new residents of the Notre Dame. She lost her house and belongings in Waveland, and couldn't afford to pay rent because all she has is social security.

"It was a miracle really, when you think about all the people that don't have homes," said Eunice Serio. "It was just a blessing from God. That's how I have to believe. The good Lord must have wanted me here."

As Serio placed a little angel on her bed, she said, "This is a little angel that went through the storm and I think she deserves to be here."

Now, most of the residents are back, afternoon coffees are being served again, and Eunice Serio is already making new friends.

"I call everybody 'darling' and I love everybody," said Serio.

The residents who evacuated after the storm lived with family members or out-of-state nursing homes until they were able to return. There are 60 apartments in the Notre Dame Complex. It still has three vacancies. If you are interested, just call 467-2885.

There are income eligibility requirements: Single people cannot make more than $26,250 annually. For couples, their income cannot exceed $30,000 a year.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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