Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Site Being Established

1/4 9 from Hancock County, 6 from Waveland

Terry and Hamilton
Schonda and Family
Richard and Barb
Robb and Rod
Debbie and Family
Lee Ann and Family

Questionnaire For Inclusion On Real People Relief

Information Posted on Your Page
- I would like first and last, but please note what you feel comfortable having posted for all to see.

Email: - only contact information public will have about you. You will decide if you want them to know your full information by emailing them.

Location: - where you were; where you are; where you plan to be in a year.

Number in Household
: - Please include pets. First names, sex and age of each person.

Situation: – brief paragraph of what you’ve been through, who you’ve applied for help with, what has happened in the last year.

Current Living Arrangements:
- FEMA Trailer, Apartment, House, Tent?

Help: - what help, if any, have you received thus far?

Photos: - Up to current photos – can be rotated through as new images are sent.

Needs: Please list preferences; if you’re going to want, you might as well want what you want! Below are examples and in the categories to be listed under.
Foods – non-perishable only
Paper Products – Napkins, Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, etc.
School Supplies – notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, etc.
Computer Supplies – paper, ink (give specific cartridges)
Clothing – list sizes and style color preference
Cleaning Supplies – Windex, Dishwashing liquid, Laundry detergent, etc.
Household Supplies – light bulbs, kitchen supplies (pans, pots, etc.)
Stores you shop at – for possible gift cards or gift registry

Information Not Posted
Full Name
Mailing Address
Phone Number

What I Need from you
Twice monthly updates: - The more often I can update your information, the more frequently your information will be reviewed. People view blogs like an ongoing story. They get hooked on new little tidbits. If I don’t receive regular updates, the information will be pulled after 8 weeks.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Debris Bidding War

Waveland might switch debris firms
Bay, Hancock paying $6 less per cubic yard
WAVELAND - City leaders here say they want to save a bunch of money on debris removal by switching to Yates.
Waveland hired TCB Construction to handle what's left of the city's Katrina debris just after the storm.
Some city aldermen are less than pleased with TCB's unit price proposal of nearly $18 per cubic yard, compared to a price Hancock County and Bay St. Louis are getting. Aldermen are pushing the city to shop around.
Mayor Tommy Longo said in recent meetings that if a joint contract with the county and the Bay turned out to be cheaper, he would support dumping the city's current deal and attempt to join the Hancock-Bay project.
The Hancock Board of Supervisors awarded a contract Monday to Yates Construction based on the firm's unit-price proposal of about $12 per cubic yard to finish cleaning the county and Bay St. Louis. The job could cost the county nearly $6 less per cubic yard than Waveland.
"The mayor has said all along that TCB was cheap and they were putting local people to work and that's fine," said Alderman Brian Schmitt. "Then he says that TCB was right on the money, but that if the county bids came in cheaper, we would piggyback on their contract and all that sounded good to me."
Waveland hired TCB after Katrina to clean debris north of the CSX railroad tracks. The city recently extended that deal to include areas south of the tracks, without publicly soliciting bid proposals from other companies.
"Does TCB still look cheap compared to what the county is getting? Heck no," Schmitt said. "If we can't get in on the county's contract, then we need to advertise for bids again."
Schmitt said he called City Hall and requested space on next week's agenda so the board could revisit TCB's contract "as soon as I found out about the county's deal."
Since the storm, Waveland has removed more than 2 million cubic yards of debris and Longo said he supports Schmitt's plan to revisit the contract, but the city should not stop progress while looking for a better deal.
"We will almost certainly advertise for new bids if we can't get in with the county's contract," Longo said. "The only reason we haven't yet is because we had an existing contract that allowed us to continue working and we didn't want to stop cleaning debris for six months in Waveland."
Because of its private contract, Waveland has been able to continue its debris removal. Work essentially was stopped in the county and the Bay since the Corps of Engineers pulled out earlier this year.
The federal government funded 100 percent of the debris removal until June 30. Since then, local and state governments have been responsible for 10 percent of the cost and the federal government is funding the rest.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Lot Buying Troubles

Habitat permits denied Charity abandons plans to build in city

WAVELAND - City leaders denied several special permits Monday, prompting the world's largest charity homebuilder to abandon plans to construct new houses for more than 70 local families.
The Board of Aldermen supported a recommendation from city planners to deny special permits that would have allowed Habitat for Humanity to build nearly 20 new homes on lots that are smaller than the city's code requires.
Habitat, which is building thousands of houses along the Gulf Coast, was planning to build at least 70 new homes in Waveland, where more than 200 families remain on a waiting list.
Instead, Habitat will finish up work on "two or three" homes for families who already own property large enough to meet the city's standards. After that, the group will look elsewhere.
"We'll find places to build, but it won't be in Waveland," said Wendy McDonald, who runs the Hancock County chapter of Habitat. "We will focus the bulk of our energy on communities that are more receptive to smaller-sized lots."
McDonald has said large lots are more expensive, which drives the mortgage payments out of reach for most Habitat homeowners.
In addition, she said many who qualify for Habitat homes are senior citizens and single moms who would have trouble caring for a large lot.
"I'm not so sure any affordable housing builder can afford to build on larger lots; the math just doesn't work," McDonald said. "There's no consideration for affordable housing in Waveland and that's where the housing shortage is the most severe."
The 20 lots that were denied are in the predominantly black neighborhood of Middletown, but Alderman Brian Schmitt said most of the resistance came from residents living in different parts of the city.
"The opposition wasn't just from Middletown, it was from everywhere," Schmitt said. "People don't want smaller lots and that's what the ordinance is there for."
Schmitt, who represents parts of Middletown, said he wrestled with the decision for weeks, and casting a vote that could prevent construction of dozens of homes can make it tough to sleep at night.
"Having to make that decision killed me," he said. "I went home and cried like a baby."
Since March, aldermen have approved several recommendations from city planners allowing special permits similar to the requests they denied from Habitat.
One property owner was allowed to divide his property into eight lots, each seven feet smaller than the city's code requires, and another homeowner was allowed to divide one lot into two, one of which did not meet the city's square-footage requirement.
However, Schmitt said, none of those requests caused nearly the kind of fuss that surrounded Habitat's plan.
He said such large-scale development on small lots could jeopardize property values for existing homeowners, and homes built close together could create dangerous fire hazards.

Emailed to me - Originally from the Sun Herald


WAVELAND - Mayor Tommy Longo is urging city leaders to work with the world's largest charity homebuilder to find a solution to the town's housing crisis.
"There's a desperate need for housing in this town," Longo said. "All of us need to do whatever we can to get our people back in houses and bring them back home."
The Hancock chapter of Habitat for Humanity hopes to build about 70 new homes in Waveland as part of a plan launched last year to build "thousands and thousands" of homes along the storm-pelted Gulf Coast, from Texas to Alabama.
Although they have approved special permits for 10 new home sites, the Waveland Planning Commission has twice denied Habitat projects in recent weeks.
Habitat is looking to build homes on lots smaller than what the city code allows, which requires the group to get a special permit before building.
Wendy McDonald, who runs the Habitat office in Hancock, said the group has little choice but to build on smaller properties.
"Land costs here is what's driving our push for smaller lots," she said. "Without smaller lots its almost impossible for us to build a house that's affordable."
McDonald said the average cost of a Habitat home on the Coast is about $25,000 more than the same house in Jackson, because of soaring land values. In addition, she said many who qualify for a Habitat home are older residents and single moms who would find it hard to care for a large lot.
"The planning commission is not going to approve undersized housing in an existing subdivision, not in Waveland, Bay St. Louis or any other place," Longo said. "But we do need to work together with them to make sure that their plans fit the look of the neighborhoods they are going into, and if not, then we need to find someplace in the city that does fit."
Last week, Habitat asked the commission to approve a special permit that would allow the group to build six houses near Herlihy Street on lots that do not meet the city's 75-foot-wide requirement. Four of the lots are 70 feet wide and two are 62 feet wide.
The commission approved four of the six, but because one seller owns all of the lots, it would hardly be lucrative for Habitat to purchase six and only build on four.
It took just two Middle Town residents voicing opposition to sway the commission's vote. One lady said the Habitat homes would attract drugs and traffic to the neighborhood.
"We don't need no more houses over here," she told the Sun Herald. "If people want to build their own houses let them, but Habitat wants to build all these houses."
Opponents often appear before an elected board to voice their laments about an issue that's being decided on and sometimes the vocal group prevails.
But this week in Waveland, there were just two voices of opposition. Longo agreed that in recent months it seems a few voices of opposition have been loud enough to influence crucial decisions over the "silent majority."
He said it's happening on many governing boards throughout the county and he urged elected leaders to stand up and do what's best for the people they serve.
"It's been like that since the storm, on every single issue," he said. "One person, or two people, will be a very vocal minority and sway a decision on a project that the silent majority is in favor of, and a lot of the time, that project would've benefited most of the people in the city."
Longo said City Hall has received dozens of phone calls from Middle Town residents supporting the Habitat projects, since last week's refusal.
Besides the phone number to City Hall and photos of themselves, contact information for the Board of Aldermen is not on the city's Web site and finding a still-working home number in a post-Katrina telephone book has been hit and miss. The planning commissioners are not listed on the city's Web site.
"Even if there's not an opposite opinion at a meeting or no one has called (the commission) to speak up, the board still should vote on what they feel is best for the people in their city," McDonald said. "And, if denying those houses is what the community really wanted, then that's fine."
Habitat plans to appeal the commission's decision Tuesday to the Board of Aldermen and the group has two other projects to propose, but after that, McDonald said, the group will be out of potential home sites.
"It's seems that both sides need to be a bit more flexible and understanding of the need," Longo said. "There is a huge need for housing in this city and we need to do whatever it takes to get people back home."

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