Free House Available In Biloxi; Applicants Needed

The floors have been put down, the walls are up, and the kitchen is almost done.

"The cabinets were donated by Mike Hood," said Crockey Peterson.

Crockey Peterson and his wife Kathryn have spent more than $70,000, building the 1,100 square foot house on Bonner Drive in East Biloxi.

"A lot better then a FEMA trailer isn't it?" asked Peterson.

The Florida couple wants to donate the three-bedroom/two-bath house to a family in need.

"I'd like to find somebody that's got a couple of kids, and really needs the help," Peterson said. "A good family. That's what I'm looking for."

The Petersons have visited South Mississippi numerous times before Katrina. That's why they were so moved by what they saw, six months after the storm.

"It was 31 degrees, and these people were living in their tents," Peterson said with tears in his eyes.

Mr. Peterson had wanted to give the house away on Christmas Day. He was looking for a family that lost everything in Katrina and is still struggling to rebuild. But he won't be able to meet that deadline, because surprisingly, he has only received a few applications.

"There were three applicants," Peterson said. "I thought there would be a lot of people. I mean, there's got to be a lot of people that's lost their house and needs help. It would have been nice to call somebody up on Christmas Day and say 'You've been the party that's been picked to receive the house'."

Despite his disappointment, Peterson is determined to finish the house.

"I'd like to have it totally furnished with beds and everything," Peterson said.

And he hopes more people will apply soon, so someone will get to move in by the end of January.

"I want to get it done," Peterson said. "Once I pick the right family, it's going to be like somebody lifted a safe off my shoulder."

To apply for the house, just pick-up an application at Biloxi City Hall, fill it out, and send it to the address shown on the form. The person or family that's chosen will have to pay taxes and insurance on the house.  They must also meet certain criteria described on the application.