MS Governor & HUD Secretary Inspect Public Housing In Long Beach

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Governor Haley Barbour was back in South Mississippi Thursday, and he brought with him the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Steve Preston. They came to assess any damage from Hurricane Gustav at Long Beach's Woodward Park public housing development.

"I got a call yesterday from the HUD Secretary's office wanting to come in this morning," says Long Beach Housing Authority Executive Director LaNelle Davis. "I got a call from the Governors office wanting the same thing and I gladly welcome all of them coming in and hearing our side of it because it looks like we haven't done anything, but we have worked non stop since Katrina. Now we've got this to deal with"

Hurricane Gustav left minor damage in Long Beach's largest public housing subdivision. Local Housing Authority Executive Director LaNelle Davis showed it to Governor Barbour and Secretary Preston, but it was the damage caused by Katrina that caught their eyes.

"This housing authority in Long Beach is an example of how the bureaucracy of things can get slowed down," Barbour said.

It took Long Beach two years to get their hands on the $3.8 million needed to refurbish Woodward Park. They hope to begin construction in December. Secretary Preston says that's far too long and part of what his trip here is all about.

"One of the reasons it's important for me to come down here and talk to people who are dealing with these issues right on the ground is so I can go back to Washington and understand where the roadblocks are," Preston said. "And my job is to help knock those roadblocks down."

Doing that would make LaNelle Davis's job a lot easier and her residents a lot safer.

"At least they can see what we're trying to deal with and they know first hand what we're up against," Davis said. "And not only us, but the residents. They've been so patient with us and we've done everything we can from our end to get the money in here."