A Biloxi landlord says he's trying to do his part to bring back affordable housing to east end of the city. Katrina either destroyed or heavily damaged all of Marvin Hendricks' rental homes. He says although there isn't much help out there for people trying to rehab rental properties, he was determined to do what he could.
"The new houses are fine, but I like the looks of the old houses," said Marvin Hendricks.
He envisions the old house he recently bought on Keller Avenue having the historic Biloxi architecture on the outside and all the modern conveniences on the inside.
"When we get through with it, instead of being a two bedroom/one bath or a three bedroom/one bath house, it will be three bedrooms/two baths. Everything will be to code," he said.
The renovations are part of Hendricks' attempt to get back to the number of rental properties he had before Hurricane Katrina.
"We originally had 15 houses," said Hendricks. "We ended up having six houses that were still on foundations. The other eight were completely destroyed. Completely gone. So we lost all eight of those homes. The remaining six houses we went into them one at a time and started all over again, if you will."
Renters have moved into five of the homes. Hendricks has also bought several fixer uppers including a house built sometime between 1930 and 1950. Hendricks says the home was on the verge of being bulldozed.
"We bought this lot then moved the house over to this lot so we could save it," he said.
Hendricks wants to help rebuild this East Biloxi neighborhood.
"We're saving some history in some of the character in the city. Number two, if we don't have houses, reasonably priced houses we can't find people to build more. It's a catch 22."
He thinks with more the right support programs, other property owners would do the same.
Hendricks said, "I think that there are a lot of landlords who lost their properties and would build back, but simply can't because they don't have the means to do so."
Hendricks says since rental property owners aren't eligible for grants the only option is an S.B.A. loan. He says the rates are too high and he like many others can't get long term loans because of age.
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