It's been 15 months since Katrina hit, and still, this Christmas some residents are not back in their homes.
"At this point in time, when you've had over 3,000 structures destroyed in East Biloxi alone, you don't need a lot of red tape to get people back into their homes. It's been 15 months. People need to get back in their home," said Ward 2 Councilman Bill Stallworth.
This is why East Biloxi councilmen Bill Stallworth and George Lawrence have pushed for an ordinance that will cut out a lot of the red tape for residents trying to build back. The Council voted unanimously in favor of that ordinance, effective immediately.
"Residents that lost their homes in Katrina will have the ability to come back in and, if they have a small lot, they can't quite get the house on it, they can come to the building department, meet with the planning people, get a recommendation from them, bring it to the city council. The city can approve that and basically cut the time by 90 percent," Councilman Stallworth said.
"Otherwise, you would have had to go through the planning commission. This way here you can go directly to Biloxi Community Development Center, sit down with them, adjust your house to the piece of property that you own now," Councilman Lawrence said.
But the ordinance will remain in effect only for a limited time.
"This particular ordinance will expire September 1, 2007," said Councilman Stallworth. "It's extremely important that people get their building permits and get under construction so that they can move back into their homes as quickly as possible."