Mississippi Center For Justice Visiting Gulfport FEMA Trailers For Input

People who live in FEMA trailers in Gulfport have until December 31 to find alternative housing, but some city residents and workers with the Mississippi Department of Justice say that's not enough time.

"I can't believe that the city of Gulfport, the second largest city in this state, is going to push these people out of the city of Gulfport, out of the coast. Because that's what's going to happen," said Dorothy McClendon.

Lifelong Gulfport resident Dorothy McClendon does not live in a FEMA trailer, but knows people who do. She says many of them are hard working people who are trying to overcome the obstacles of high insurance and housing costs on the Coast.

"I run into too many people who live in these trailer parks, and you guys are talking about closing them down in 2008. And I say to myself, 'My gosh, somebody's going to have to get on speed control.' Because a lot of work has to be done to get these people into some decent, healthy, environment housing," McClendon said.

Reilly Morse works for the Mississippi Center for Justice. He invited council members to join him on visits to the city's four remaining FEMA parks to get a first hand look at some of the hardships occupants are facing. Among his biggest concerns are the disabled.

"There remain here in the city of Gulfport and elsewhere across the Coast, folks that do not have permanent alternative housing that are disabled. Those are hard to house folks. Those are folks for whom the most basic elements of life are difficult to deal with, whether its the sink, the shower, all the personal facilities that are required, the kitchen," Morse said.

The city's urban development department sent out surveys last week to gauge the status of FEMA trailer occupants. There are still more than 1,500 FEMA trailers and mobile homes in the city of Gulfport.

A workshop with free legal assistance for people with FEMA Housing Issues will be held Thursday, November 29 at the MS Center for Justice on Division Street in Biloxi from 4 to 7 p.m.