Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"100 Homes 100 Days" News Links

100 Homes project expands to rentals Wednesday, April 11, 2007 By BRAD CROCKER

PASCAGOULA -- Mississippi Gulf Coast landlords having difficulty finding resources to renovate or rebuild their Hurricane Katrina-damaged rentals are urged to participate in a new survey aimed at assisting them secure funding to restore their properties.

The survey resulted from the 100 Homes in 100 Days project, which began in Pascagoula on March 26.

The survey for landlords and rental property owners was launched Tuesday night at the Web site, and takes about 10 minutes, officials said.

"We especially want to hear from landlords and property owners who can't afford to fix their properties or are having trouble getting the resources they need," said Tammy Agard with 100 Homes in 100 Days.

While surveying residents in a specific grid in Pascagoula, volunteers found that 60 percent of the homes were rental properties, which was "alarming," said Agard, a co-founder of Mississippi Home Again, which is partnering with the American Red Cross' Hurricane Recovery Program, The Salvation Army, Hope Has a Face Foundation, Jackson County Community Services Coalition, GreenLeaf Consulting and Northrop Grumman to rehabilitate 100 homes in south Pascagoula by July 4.

Organizers with 100 Homes in 100 Days have also expanded the grid in Pascagoula to now include an area bound by Pascagoula Street on the west, 14th Street on the east and Ingalls Avenue on the south. Taylor and Polk avenues comprise the northern boundary.

Property owners in the grid were mailed letters Tuesday notifying them of the expanded area in which volunteers are repairing and rebuilding homes damaged by Katrina.

The Pascagoula survey also showed that 81 percent of the structures in the grid are not inhabited because the owners cannot repair them, primarily because of funding obstacles, a problem that is being discovered across the Coast, Agard said.

Those results are also what led to the new survey and subsequent program for rental property owners along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"It is extremely important that people who own rental properties, no matter where they live, what their status is, take this survey," Agard said.

Agard said the Red Cross and Salvation Army, which are contributing $1 million each to the 100 Homes project also want to make sure that eligible rental property owners will be interested in the new program before moving forward.

Other federal agencies will also review the survey results.

"It's really a win-win for everybody involved," said Agard, adding that more information and requirements for renters to eventually become homeowners will be released as the project progresses.

Finding residents, including renters, permanent housing and especially home ownership, is one void Coast officials are trying to fill in post-Katrina communities.

Pascagoula City Manager Kay Kell said she has not reviewed the new proposal but initial information suggests it could work well in Pascagoula.

"I think any way they can expand their assistance is wonderful," said Kell, adding that the city's comprehensive plan shows that about 44 percent of the city's approximately 25,000 residents were renters before Katrina.

There are also numerous landowners who appear before the City Council for public hearings in which their properties have been slated for demolition, a cost passed on to the property owners.

Many of those property owners also do not live in Pasca-goula or they inherited the property and cannot or will not pay for the upkeep required by the city.

"Those are the type people we need to hear from as well," Agard said.

Reporter Brad Crocker can be reached at or (228) 934-1431.

» Deadline nears for emergency housing permits (Wednesday, 4/11/2007, Mississippi Press )
PASCAGOULA -- Only 34 families have applied for an extension for emergency housing as the April 20 deadline approaches.

» Home on School Street razed; new one to be built in its place (Tuesday, 4/10/2007, Mississippi Press )
PASCAGOULA -- Maceo Denis had mixed emotions while he watched volunteers demolish his long-time home that reminded him of so many events in his life.

» 28-day strike cost about $4 million in payroll (Friday, 4/06/2007, Mississippi Press )
PASCAGOULA -- After being off the job for nearly a month, Alton Reyes said Thursday -- the first day after a 28-day strike at Northrop Grumman ended -- was different from most days he's experienced during his five years at the company's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula.

» Nine days down, 91 to go (Tuesday, 4/03/2007, Mississippi Press )
PASCAGOULA -- Support for the 100 Homes in 100 Days initiative has been overwhelming, but the project is still looking for local volunteers to help revitalize a Pascagoula neighborhood.

» 1 in 100 Home on School Street razed; new one to be built in its place (Sunday, 4/01/2007, Mississippi Press )
PASCAGOULA -- Maceo Denis had mixed emotions while he watched volunteers demolish his long-time home that reminded him of so many events in his life.

» Not everyone is happy with alternative housing program (Saturday, 3/31/2007, Mississippi Press )
PASCAGOULA -- When the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's Alternative Housing Program begins in the next month or so, some Jackson County residents hope to be among those chosen, while others say they will reject the offer.

» Alternative housing recipients to be selected at random (Thursday, 3/29/2007, Mississippi Press )
GAUTIER -- Details for a $281 million alternative housing program were unveiled Wednesday at the Gautier Convention Center before 100 Jackson County residents still living in Federal Emergency Management Agency travel trailers or mobile homes.

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