Old Biloxi School Site May Become Future Home For Seniors

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Every morning, Maddie Coleman and her friends get together to catch up on the news and work on puzzles. The ladies are still trying to put the pieces of their lives back together, three years after Katrina shattered their homes.

"It's just trying to get adjusted to things, and new places, new people, new surroundings," said Maddie Coleman.

Coleman and her friends feel fortunate. They are among 76 elderly residents who have found an affordable place to live at the new Cadet Point Senior Village in east Biloxi.

"I love it! I love it!" said Azienell Holmes. "I want to live here until they carry me away."

Many senior citizens are still on the waiting list. That's why the Biloxi Housing Authority wants to build another 50 unit senior village, right next door. The agency is asking the Biloxi School Board to lease a two-and-a-half acre piece of property, where Howard II Elementary School once stood.

"It'll be three floors," said Bobby Hensley, Executive Director of the Biloxi Housing Authority. "The first floor will be parking. It's necessary because of the elevation, and then the next two floors will be one bedroom mostly. Maybe a few two bedroom units."

The land between the two complexes would become a park, with a walking track, benches and other amenities for seniors.

"There were a lot of seniors that lived on the Point before the storm, and now they are wanting to come back to the area that they've always lived in," Hensley said. "We're finding that they are enjoying coming back to the home we have down there now and what we hope to build."

Maddie Coleman looks forward to seeing the additions, and maybe some old friends again.

"It was a devastating thing people went through," said Coleman. "Not only have they lost their homes, they've lost their friends. I think it's wonderful. They can come in to a brand new place and feel secure."

The Biloxi School Board has given its initial approval for the proposed senior complex. The next step is for the Biloxi Housing Authority to apply for a $9 million federal grant to fund it. If that grant comes through, both sides will sit down to discuss the details of the project and the terms of the contract.