Gulfport Welcomes Cottages Again - - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport Welcomes Cottages Again

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- MEMA Cottages were the hot topic Tuesday in Harrison County. While city leaders in Biloxi discussed whether or not to make the cottages permanent, Gulfport Council decided to allow the cottages back in the city, but with some stipulations.

If you missed this year's April 15th deadline and live in the city of Gulfport, you were out luck if you wanted to get a MEMA Cottage. However, city leaders have changed their minds again.

"I know the need is still there. Our citizens need it. It's an opportunity to make our place in Gulfport look a lot better," said Ward 4 Council Member Jackie Smith.

Smith asked his fellow council members to reconsider having MEMA Cottages in the city of Gulfport, but only in established trailer parks.

"I see in some of these trailer park areas where we definitely have some run down trailers," Smith said.

Former council member Jimmie Jenkins agrees.

"If you look at some of those trailer parks, they are not new trailers. Some of those trailers have been there for years. And if I lived close to there, I would rather see a MEMA Cottage rather than a dilapidated trailer," Jenkins said.

There is another catch: The move to bring MEMA cottages to Gulfport's trailer parks is only temporary. And even though the council unanimously decided to allow the move, they know by the March 31, 2009 deadline there will be some problems.

"We are just being figgle-faggle right now and I really hope we get this together very soon on what we're going to do. Because I see this coming back just like it did in Biloxi where they decided they are going to have a knock down drag out over permanent cottages, and that's not how I see Gulfport," said Ward 3 Council Member Ella Holmes-Hines.

Council members fear that people will not have permanent housing by the deadline. That's why council members are already making plans to discuss what happens once the cottages have to go.  

At Tuesday's meeting, Gulfport council also decided to allow the Salvation Army to place cottages on its 24th Avenue site. The cottages will serve as temporary shelters for the homeless while a more permanent structure is being built.

By Elise Roberts

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