Coastal Family Health Breaks Ground On New Biloxi Center

Like so many who lost facilities in Hurricane Katrina, administrators at the Coastal Family Health Center have had to make due with cramped quarters.

"We did have this entire hall covered, but now we're down to those few boxes,"says Health Center Executive Director Joe Dawsey.

But the stacks of boxes he's pointing to are growing smaller.

"At one time you could barely get down this hall," says Dawsey. "I'm glad the fire department didn't come by."

And those are just conditions at the administrative office. Clinic space has been even more critical in the long months since Katrina wiped out their main building on Division Street.

"At one time we had 23 locations," says Dawsey. "Most of them were temporary, in trailers and tents."

But that will soon change as construction begins on their new Division Street health center.

"The one we're building in Biloxi today will replace five temporary [sites]."

That project that will take about a year to complete. But once it's finished, medical, dental and optometry services for the uninsured and under-insured will all be available under one roof.

"Oh, I'm looking forward to a building down there, and get our staff back together," says Dawsey.

Next on the agenda? Upgraded facilities in Jackson and Hancock Counties, as well as an expansion of their administrative office.

"We're on top of each other and all of our clinics are the same way. I was trying to bring WIC into Biloxi and I can't find a place to put one nurse."

But with better days ahead, Dawsey remains especially proud of one accomplishment.

"We have been able to provide care. We stay tremendously busy and I suppose that's the people who wouldn't be able to find care anywhere else."

If you'd like to learn more about the Coastal Family Health Centers, or make a donation, visit