Many residents at Cadet Point Senior Village are lifelong residents of East Biloxi and lost their homes in the storm. But these folks are survivors and have found support and even more tight knit companionship at this senior housing complex.
"This is rebuilding my life, and I feel good about life from here on in," said resident Ida Simmons.
Simmons and her friends at Cadet Point Senior Village gave the Governor and Deputy Secretary a trademark Southern welcome during the statesmen's tour.
Inez Senseny fielded a few questions from the Governor as he and Bernardi checked out her apartment.
"He asked me how I liked it down here, and how long I've lived down here. I told him I was born two blocks down the street," Senseny said.
"The folks that are here, they've lived in East Biloxi most all their lives, so this is coming home. All this is done, obviously, with a significant amount of resources from the federal government," Bernardi said.
Since Katrina, Mississippi has received more than $5 billion in long term disaster recovery funding through HUD's Community Development Block Grants program. Governor Barbour credited HUD with cutting through the red tape, so people could get back into homes.
"We now have 1,700 units of public housing that are back occupied out of a total of 2,500. At the end of the day, we're going to have about 6,000 units of public housing because the commitments have been made, and HUD has been a very good partner," Governor Barbour said.
As for Inez Senseney, she's just glad to be back in a place she calls home, surrounded by people she loves.
"My friends all moved in. We're about seven of us, who lost all our homes. We're together. We're all very happy," Senseney said.
Bernardi says more help and affordable housing are on the way.