This is a reprint of an article written by the Sun Herald. You can find the original here.
PASCAGOULA — Volunteers from the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery on Friday joined forces with local representatives from Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to help with the construction of a new home in the organization’s Fowler Fields project.
The home is one of three that is being constructed as part of a 13-home subdivision off Lanier Avenue in Pascagoula.
“We are starting these first three homes as part of our Katrina commemorative build and a group of more than 20 people from all parts of the Chevron Refinery are volunteering,” HFHMCG Director of Development Adele Lyons said.
“We will be doing a variety of things such as working on windows, exterior work. It’s always good to have partners in the community who want to help us come out and build. The Chevron workers have a variety of skill levels, some have done construction and some haven’t. There’s a place for everyone. We are just glad to have them out.”
The three houses are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. HFHMCG will then shift its focus on another area of the Gulf Coast before returning to Pascagoula to build additional homes in the neighborhood.
Lyons said the procedures for getting a Habitat home have changed in the area, due in large part to Katrina.
“We have had such a demand since Hurricane Katrina that we have changed our process,” she said. “We have 17 families right now that are in some phase of completing the process for home ownership. Some are just starting the applications and some are towards the end of the process. We have certain milestones that families meet to get their houses. This keeps them interested in the program. No one is every waiting for a house. The houses are waiting on people to meet their requirements.”
According to Lyons, HFHMCG clients have not only had to deal with the aftermath of Katrina in the past 10 years, but also the recession of 2008 and the BP oil spill.
“After Katrina, the market was very competitive and smaller, more affordable housing wasn’t available,” she said. “We have built about 325 houses on the Gulf Coast. But the recession and the oil spill also didn’t bode well for the people who are living month to month. We still have the need for housing. We live in Mississippi and there, unfortunately, is a lot of poverty here and that creates a need for affordable housing. We also get a lot of requests for us to help rehab houses. There’s still a great need on the Gulf Coast.”