Council asked to address temporary housing issue

The city’s Community Development Department, wary of going through another hurricane season with residents in temporary trailers, is asking the City Council to help prompt residents to seek permanent housing.

Council members will be asked on Tuesday to vote on an ordinance that would abolish the temporary permits issued for trailers and campers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and require residents of trailer and campers to obtain a renewable 30-day permit

The council meeting begins Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 at City Hall.

“We’ve been lucky that we’ve made it three hurricane seasons without a major storm,” said Community Development Director Jerry Creel. “These trailers and campers are not designed to withstand any wind designation, which is the reason they do not meet the building code.”

City codes require that structures be designed to withstand winds of 140 mph.

“Right now we have only 41 of these sub-code trailers left in the city, and of those 21 are working on rebuilding their homes, and 20 are doing nothing,” Creel said. “We’ll certainly work with people, but what we’re hearing people say is ‘Hey, I’ve got a $150,000 grant in the bank and that’s going to take care of me for the rest of my life. Why should I go out and rebuild or rent an apartment when I have that money to fall back on?’”

Creel admitted that the issue may be misunderstood by some.

“People are not being kicked out of their trailers,” he declared. “What we’re trying to do is have people start rebuilding and move into more appropriate and safer housing. If someone is in the process of repairing their home, we’ll work with them. Our concern is those who are taking no steps whatsoever and the ones who have made no effort whatsoever to find permanent housing.”

Read it for yourself: To read the proposed revisions to the ordinance regarding temporary structures, click here.

See it on TV Sunday night: Community Development Director Jerry Creel also will speak about the issue during an expanded interview Sunday on WLOX News at 10 p.m.

News and notes

Council preview: The temporary trailer issue is one of more than a dozen measures on the agenda for the council’s Tuesday meeting. To see the complete agenda and available resolutions, click here.

Weekend preview: For a look at the weekend’s lineup of things to do, courtesy of listings from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.

Soccer: The world will be able to see the Women’s Military World Soccer Championships to the world Saturday morning beginning at 11:45, and you can see the games in person at Biloxi High School stadium. To read more about the tournament, click here.