Relief Agencies Say The Elderly And Disabled Are Being Left Behind In The Recovery

Their stories are both sad and familiar. Their spirits are strong but strained. And Interfaith Disaster Task Force Executive Director Roberta Avila says after 2 years of broken dreams, these people and thousands of others like them deserve to be heard and helped.

"There are a lot of elderly and disabled with unmet needs that need to be addressed," says Avila. "Right now, there's not enough funding to address those needs."

Avila says nothing made that more clear than finding out the state wants to redirect 600 million dollar from housing to the Port of Gulfport.

"We can't afford to lose that housing money," says Avila.

Advocates for the elderly and the disabled accused agencies put in place to assist people, of failing either through incompetence or simple neglect.

"A lot of times we don't find out about the resources in time," says elderly advocate Taletha Denison with Mississippi Protection and Advocacy. "By the time we get everything submitted, the deadlines are up."

"We know that the low income, senior citizens, the disabled, the working poor of Mississippi, their housing issues are not being addressed," says advocate for the disabled Mary Troupe with the Mississippi Coalition of Citizens With Disabilities.

And until these issues are addressed, these people say south Mississippi's recovery will consist mostly of window dressing.

"You need to get off Highway 90, and you need to look and see what's going on," says Troupe.

The group says some quick fixes could come from expanding home grants to cover families with wind damage and doubling the size of the Small Rental Program.