Pascagoula Officials Want To Close FEMA Parks - - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula Officials Want To Close FEMA Parks

George Barnes, James Brooks, and Frances Kirkland have each felt the horrible affects of Katrina.  All three were renters and lost everything in the storm.

"Everyday is a struggling day," Pascagoula Resident Frances Kirkland said.

Now the city is closing the place they have called home, the FEMA Trailer park on Sunset Street.

"It is in a flood zone, and we feel first from a safety stand point it is not safe. This property is not zoned for the particular use," Pascagoula Planning and Zoning Director Steve Mitchell said.

Pascagoula Planning Director Steve Mitchell says in the immediate weeks after the storm 71 trailers were placed at this lot.

Though the need for housing remains, Mitchell says this park has become a haven for crime.

"The police have logged 1hundered and eight calls here since February of last year."

"We have to follow the zoning law, which will require me to send a letter to the property owner and giving him a certain number of days to correct the violation. The word I got back from the council is some where between 60 and 90 days," Mitchell said.

That deadline is bad news for these people who say they have no where else to go.

"It is hard on a fixed income because I have bills, and my check takes care of my bills, I do not have money to buy me nothing," Pascagoula Resident George Barns said.

"How can you throw somebody out and expect for them to find somewhere to go," Pascagoula Resident James Brooks said.

Mitchell says the people living in this FEMA trailer park will not be put out on the streets, in fact he says the city is working with FEMA, and other groups to find alternative housing.

"We are participating in the Governor's housing program, and we are looking for sites now to set up these alternative houses.  We want move our citizens in more of a property ownership than more than just rental property."

The people in the Sunset Street park aren't the only FEMA trailer residents who will be looking for new homes.  Mitchell says city leaders will meet next month to discuss closing Pascagoula's other four FEMA parks.

FEMA representatives could not say where the Sunset Park residents will go or how long it will take to find alternative housing for them.

By Patrice Clark

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