What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Homeless in Hancock County a Growing Concern Among Katrina Volunteers

From: Kathleen Johnson - Katrina Relief Filed 11/7/07 GCN

(Editor's Note: Kathleen Johnson has been working as a Katrina recovery volunteer in Hancock County since shortly after the hurricane)

Its a bigger issue than most want to admit to. Hancock County is not all about those million dollar homes that used to be on the beach.

There is no homeless shelter (and there was not one before the storm), there is no halfway house for families who lose housing here for a variety of reason, there is no halfway house for young pregnant teens or young pregnant adults, there is no halfway house for those released from prison and transported here on release. Isn't it time we stood up and admitted that this is at crisis proportions?

Here is the picture of a place in Hancock County that is housing up to eight homeless people a night - its a pump house. I took the photograph yesterday as I was out doing a social service work call with someone from the Food Pantry.

We have people still living in tents, in cars, and gutted out homes. Given the magnitude of the problem with the lack of affordable housing - this problem is impacting even our office as we deal more and more with social service work along with recovery issues.

Where do we send these referrals? And a bus ticket out of town, as offered as advice from one source, is not a Christian solution. Most of these people had homes and apartments before the storm and were contributing participants of this community. But so many are falling between the services available.

Kathleen Johnson
Katrina Relief
(228)466-4630 (O)
(228) 344-8616 (C)

© 2007 Ana Maria Rosato. All rights reserved.
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2 comments: said...

Kathleen - I am a doctor who volunteered medical services for four months post Katrina, I was run out of town by the hospital and county officials who stated that there was no need for a free clinic - that there were enough doctors there. Even when I pointed out that even if there are doctors, most people do not have insurance; and, even if there are doctors, there is no money to purchase prescription medications.

What is the status now?

Kathleen Johnson said...

Hancock Medical, like other hospitals in the region, are having a rough time with the cost associated with patients who have no insurance. In fact - it has reached critical mass according to my sources.

Here, in my office, I see the issue of lack of medical insurance on a daily basis. If you call the one clinic we have that has a sliding scale - the appointment can be weeks out. In my case, when I tried to make an appointment for pneumonia - the appointment was months out with the clerk pointing out I could go to Hancock Emergency and get help now.

So, you see the issue is chronic here and most are viewing it thru rose colored glasses with no one putting a long term sustainable solution on the table. But then, the Federal Government does not have a solution for the lack of affordable health insurance either.

There is no "local" solution to this problem - the solution is going to have to come from the National Level.

In the meantime, people are dying for lack of appropriate and affordable medical care on a daily basis here.