Governor Addresses High Cost Of Living Issues On Coast

The cost of living here on the coast has substantially increased since Katrina. The high price of housing is one of the major reasons for the increase.  This is something Hilda Cooley knows all too well.

"Before the storm, we could pay the rent down here, afford the rent down here," she said.

Cooley says she's been having a hard time making ends meet since the storm. Katrina leveled the 72-year-old widow's mobile home in Biloxi.

"I don't want to spend time in a FEMA trailer for the rest of my life, especially on the beach, but what can I do? I can't afford the rent," Cooley said.

Cooley was born and raised in South Mississippi and she says she couldn't imagine leaving the coast. She's hoping the government will do more to help her and the thousands of others who don't yet have permanent housing.

"Make these people do something for the people who can't afford this high rent down here," Cooley said.

Governor Haley Barbour addressed Cooley's concerns at a reception Sunday night.

"We're trying to help people build rental housing. We're putting hundreds of million dollars of subsidies to people who will build or repair rental housing, and will rent it to low income and working income families," Governor Barbour said.

He says the state also has a long term plan to help with rising insurance costs.

"The state's put $80 million in insurance litigation to make insurance rates lower than what they would be, and we're also putting another 80-million dollars in over the next four years," Govenor Barbour said.

While he says progress is being made, he recognizes that the issue won't be resolved in the near future.

"We lost about 70,000 units of housing, and you don't get that back in a year or two."