Biloxi Residents Respond To FEMA Housing Deadline Extension

Billy Colston and his family have been living in the FEMA trailer park on Popp's Ferry Road since February of last year. While juggling two jobs, he's still made time to search for permanent housing on the coast over the past few months.

"As far as the housing thing, it's much too high, much too high, but you've got to do what you've got to do. I believe things will get better," Colston says.

Colston and others that are still in FEMA trailers say they see Friday's extension as a sign of hope.

"It's great thing, especially for the people who are not able to move right now. I've talked to a lot of people who live mainly out here and some people are not able to right now," Colston says.

Katrina destroyed Micah Byrd's home on Oak Street. He says the extension is a relief since he's still waiting for his disaster assistance to set in.

"It's great. Right now, we're just trying to get our money together to buy a new house off Highway 67, and we're waiting for our SBA loan to come in, and when that happens, we'll be happy, set," Byrd says.

As for Colston, he is grateful for the six month extension and has high hopes he and his neighbors will beat the deadline.

"I'm an optimistic guy. I mean if you work hard and you pray hard, you'll pretty much get anything, so hopefully before August, I'll be out of here. Hopefully everybody will be out of here," Colston says.

As of January 16, there were 30,141 FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes still in service. These units are being returned to FEMA at an average of 250 units per week. At this current turnover rate, there would still be more than 20,000 FEMA units in use come August.

Governor Barbour had asked for a one-year extension. The President could make another extension when the new deadline arrives.