Biloxi Residents Protest Redirection Of Housing Grant Money

Some Biloxi residents say that isn't fair that $600 million in MDA homeowner grant money has been redirected to the Port of Gulfport. Tuesday, they brought their concerns to the Biloxi City Council.

Tina Loc Thi, 63, has lived in a FEMA trailer on Oak Street for about a year and a half. Life's been tough since the storm, as she's tried to dig her way out of a financial mess and get back into a home of her own.

"I ask the city council to convince the government to have money for us so that we can purchase a home. And I would be willing to work to pay off that loan, because rent right for me is too high," Thi said.

Gai Katlin Troung also made an emotional plea to the council. Her elderly parents moved to Biloxi from Vietnam years ago for a better life. They still have not been able to rebuild their Biloxi home.

"I'm pretty sure everybody here on the Coast suffered some loss or all loss, and definitely the Vietnamese community lost a lot. They lived on the peninsula. Their homes were completely flooded, wiped out, their boats sunk, and that was their main way of living," Troung said.

"We're here today requesting that the city of Biloxi submit a resolution to MDA requesting the withdrawal of the plan to divert $600 million to the expansion of the Port of Gulfport," NAACP President James Crowell.

During an interview two weeks ago on WLOX News This Week, Governor Barbour said the $600 million was originally earmarked for port expansion in a proposal the state presented to Congress and the Bush Administration on November 1, 2005.

"We made a quick decision that within a month we would present to Congress a plan, and we're not just going to say give us X. We're going to say here are the things we need, here's what we estimate they'll cost. The plan from 2005 has $600 million for the Port of Gulfport," Governor Barbour said.

The council did not pass the resolution at Tuesday's meeting. And there's no word on whether it will come up for consideration at a later date.