Lauderdale County HFH: ‘The forgotten ones’ need help, too -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Lauderdale County HFH: ‘The forgotten ones’ need help, too

Meridian, Mississippi –Though it’s a two-hour drive from the Gulf of Mexico, the Meridian area was affected dramatically by the deadly hurricane duo of Katrina and Rita in 2005.

“Hurricane Katrina hit other parts of the state of Mississippi—not just the coastal cities,” said Fonda Rush, executive director of Lauderdale County Habitat for Humanity. “We suffered damage and lost homes. We had more than 10,000 evacuees here, besides all the people in our own community who were without power, water, food, phones, etc.”

Three years later, an estimated 3,000 evacuees remain in Meridian, intensifying the area’s need for public services and affordable housing.

“Many families have stayed in Meridian because they have nothing to go back to—no home, no job,” said Rush. “Just because they chose not to go back to the Mississippi Coast or Louisiana does not mean they didn’t lose everything. They, too, have stories of moving from shelter to shelter or losing family members to the storms.”

Rush worries that hurricane survivors who have resettled in Meridian and other inland areas have become “the forgotten ones,” far from the nation’s consciousness in ongoing rebuilding efforts.

About 15 local volunteers worked with the Lauderdale County affiliate to start construction on two homes as part of this year’s Carter Project. Much work remains to be done on both houses. “We need volunteers to help us,” Rush said.

How to volunteer:
Call 601-485-4992.