BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The East Biloxi Community Collaborative launched its community needs assessment Tuesday, surveying residents and local businesses in an effort to improve East Biloxi.
Ms. Ethel Clay says she has lived in East Biloxi since the 1940′s.
“I’ve seen it change from oyster shells streets to the mess we have right now,” she said.
Over the course of 70 some odd years, she has taken mental notes about the changes she wants to see come to the neighborhood. One of the most important changes she wants to see is a grocery store constructed nearby.
“You can go up and down Ward 2, and you have to go out of Ward 2 to even buy groceries,” she explained.
And other people agree with her.
“It’s a food desert,” said resident Alice Graham.
The East Biloxi Community Collaborative launched their community needs assessment for people like Ms. Ethel to share their notes and concerns with the public.
Concerns ranged from education to environmental quality, to economic security and more. Residents believe by tackling one of the issues, you influence change on other issues.
“If the quality of one’s health improves then employment improves. The attendance improves. All of that improves if you are feeling good,” said Graham.
The assessment’s goal is to put the area up to par with other neighborhoods on the Coast by pairing the concerns with data and then finding viable solutions.
“The needle for east Biloxi still isn’t moving as much as it should, so we are trying to figure out what else do we need to do to help people in east Biloxi succeed as much as other people along the Coast,” said Allytra Perryman with EBCC.
The EBCC says it assumes a lot of things about what people need, but this assessment will pinpoint if their assumptions are right or if they are missing something important that could have a big effect on people like Ms. Ethel.
The last time an East Biloxi community assessment was taken was in 2011. The program is funded by a three-year $850,000 grant from the W.K Kellogg foundation.