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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ocean Springs Closing FEMA Park

Ocean Springs FEMA park to close Aug. 15
Residents urged to find other homes
By LEIGH COLEMAN
SUN HERALD

OCEAN SPRINGS --

The more than 50 residents living in trailers behind the Ocean Springs Civic Center on U.S. 90 have until Aug. 15 to find another place to live.

Mayor Connie Moran announced Tuesday the city is planning to close the site.

The announcement was made during a meeting with FEMA representatives to discuss changes in the city's new trailer policy made earlier this year by the Board of Aldermen.

This decision comes after board members last week voted to postpone their decision to extend the Aug. 15 termination date for the closing of the trailer park.

FEMA representatives requested the board consider an extension until March 2008 but the board requested more information from FEMA and the residents living in the trailers.

"The representatives from FEMA never gave us the information we requested and we needed to make a decision about this site," said Moran.

"Of course, they can appeal the decision if they want to," she said.

According to FEMA representatives there are only 43 available apartments in Ocean Springs and they are all 125 percent above the fair-market value.

There are currently more than 90 Ocean Springs residents living in temporary trailers in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties.

"Ocean Springs has worked actively with FEMA and other agencies to ensure that all of our citizens have a place to call home," said Moran.

"As the deadline of Aug. 15 looms, it is important that anyone affected by it make appropriate plans," she said.

Moran says the city's biggest concern is the elderly, disabled, fixed-income, and single-parent households. City officials are encouraging people in these categories to contact FEMA to see if they qualify for the department's rental-assistance program.

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