Rebuilding has help for those in need

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Various organizations, foundations and private funders are helping one organization rebuild homes for those less fortunate, two years after Hurricane Katrina.

The Rebuilding Pearl River County Together’s Long Term Recovery Committee invited the Christian Reform World Relief Committee to help assess unmet needs in Pearl River County, said Dixie Reneault, secretary for Long Term Recovery Committee.

An office has been set up in each of the county’s two cities to take applications from those who still need assistance with rebuilding. One is located at the First United Methodist Church in Picayune and the other is located at the Emergency Operations Center in Poplarville on Mississippi 26.

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“We’re trying to determine if there are people with unmet needs,” Reneault said.

At each of the locations, volunteers will take applications for disaster assessments. Members of the CRWRC will use those applications to go out and examine the extent of the damage to homes affected by Hurricane Katrina. Cost assessments of supplies for the repairs are conducted. Then the assessments are turned in to apply for grant funding from private donors and foundations such as Americares and Church World Service, said David Lowery, Pastor of First United Methodist Church and co-chair of Long Term Recovery Committee.

“It will give (us) some real numbers to deal with,” Lowery said.

Currently, there are about 768 applications the committees are reviewing to determine eligibility. Previously, 100 applications were been approved and the homes are awaiting repairs. Since the program’s inception, 78 projects have been completed where damaged homes have been repaired, which included the labor and materials, Reneault said. The homeowners paid nothing out of pocket, she said.

When considering applications, priority is given to the elderly, handicapped, single parent homes and low income families. However, anyone who has needs will be considered for assistance and should apply if they have need.

“This is everybody’s opportunity two years out to let it be known they need assistance,” Lowery said.

Rebuilding Pearl River County Together was formed in February of 2006 and is a collaboration of 14 local organizations.