Her experience in helping people find jobs and gain education after Katrina helped Michelle Wilson earn a living doing what she loves. Now, as executive director of one of Jackson County's most important recovery groups, she has quite a job on her hands.
"We're going to take all those stumbling blocks we've encountered, and find a new and better Jackson County," Michelle Wilson, executive director of Rebuild Jackson County says.
Wilson knows the last 16 months haven't been easy for South Mississippians. But she hopes to soon see fewer crowded FEMA parks and more progress along the road to recovery.
"Rebuild Jackson County is more like a bridge between organizations to bring them all under one roof, look at the resources they have, in order to assist the people that have the greatest need in Jackson County."
Through individual case management, her group brings together organizations like UMCOR and the Red Cross to help people rebuild, with both money and manpower. With all the organizations on the same page, Wilson says more people can be helped.
"We are a source for those who have tapped into everything they have."
Throughout Jackson County, you'll find lots with FEMA trailers in the front yard, parked next to hurricane ravaged homes. Wilson hopes that with Rebuild Jackson County, residents will realize that help is just a phone call away.
In less than a week, Wilson has opened more than 60 cases through call-ins. That's helping Jackson County residents understand their options, to help set rebuilding in motion, faster than ever.
"We cannot take care of every need out there, but one house at a time, we are going to meet those unmet needs," Wilson says.
If you feel you've slipped through the cracks and need some assistance, Rebuild Jackson County can help. You can reach Michelle Wilson at 228-218-6025.