Thursday, December 15, 2005

When all hope seemed gone, Angela James became persistent and said "I want a house." Ms. Angela James, mother of two children, a daughter 6 and son 14, had just rented a three-bedroom Section 8 house in Pascagoula, Mississippi prior to Hurricane Katrina. Then Katrina hit the small towns of Pascagoula and Moss Point, about 30 miles east of Biloxi, Mississippi, and left its mark of devastation.

Following the hurricane, Ms. James, came to the HUD Housing information table at the Moss Point Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) on October 17, 2005. She was a Section´┐Ż8 tenant who had found housing in Greenwood, Mississippi. She stated that Greenwood was too far to travel and she had no transportation. Her eyes began to gleam when Ms. Bobbie Thomas, HUD Orlando Homeownership Center employee, informed her about HUD's Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP). Ms. James wanted to know could she live somewhere else other than Greenwood. She was informed that she could move anywhere as long as the Public Housing Authority (PHA) administered a housing choice voucher program. Ms. James replied, "I want to go to Columbus, Mississippi". Ms. Thomas from HUD along with Ms. James, the Katrina Disaster Victim walked over to a telephone and placed a KDHAP call. The KDHAP RCC counselor gave Ms. James, the Katrina Disaster Victim, the PHA contact information and phone number to arrange for travel. Ms. James did not wait for travel assistance. She called the DRC on Saturday, October 22, and stated that her brother drove her to Columbus. The Public Housing Authority in Columbus placed Ms. James in a local hotel and assisted her in searching for housing. On October 24, Ms. James called and wanted Ms. Thomas, HUD HOC and DRC employee to verify that she was a Katrina displaced family so she could obtain free clothing from a resale shop. Not only did she receive free clothing, she also won a free TV from Salvation Army. She stated that everyone from FEMA and HUD were so nice.

On November 3, Ms. James called again and stated that she had moved into a three-bedroom home on October 31. Ms. James said, "I have a beautiful home, a lake, three acres, and two patios, and very nice neighbors." She expressed appreciation of KDHAP, HUD assistance, and the excellent services received from the Mississippi Regional IV Housing Authority.

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