My family needs a home. [This is no joke.]

8 Jul

Welcome to what I like to call… ALTERNATIVE HOUSING 101.1:

Last post, I brought you up to speed on why my family is trying to find a safe place to live. After you read that, you’ll see why I’m so desperate to get something built to protect my family, come what may.

I’ll recap just a little bit, in case you’re new to these parts… LOL!

Like lots of families, mine got hammered by hurricanes. We lost everything, and had to start over again. My heart breaks as I watch the Mississippi River rise to flood stage, condemning many other families to suffer what we suffer here in Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina took everything she could carry away.

Here in South Mississippi, insurance companies draw things out as long as possible, and the insured suffer the entire time. This means that in the meantime, the insured have to just suck it up, and solve problems without assistance. Even though it seems like “Katrina was forever ago,” the scars still linger. A lot of us are still waiting, and we’re forced to do what we have to and wait for our day in court, to hopefully get the healing that we thought paying our insurance assured you of, in case of disaster.

After the storm, lots of us moved into any apartment we could find, to regroup until we could get our houses rebuilt. And unfortunately, some landlords have become opportunists, bent on extracting every penny they can, in this “crisis created bonanza.”  Some of them do little or nothing to maintain properties, and raise the rents every chance they get, out of nothing less than greed. My family is, unfortunately involved with one of these slumlords, and we need to find a way out, before something worse happens to us. My previous post describes the conditions we live in, as we try to “heal our wounds.”

So I’m sure that you’re asking yourself; “Where do they start?”

Well, first you assess your situation, and figure out your options…

In this part of the country, wages are lower than you’d expect. We don’t have huge technology centers, large manufacturing corridors, or high-paid trade jobs laying around waiting for people to fill them. The biggest local employer is Wal-Mart. It’s “work your butt off, and then die.“

You don’t get much more than a buck or two over minimum wage around here, and rebuilding a family is a “scrimp and save” proposition, at best. So recovery takes longer, much longer sometimes than you actually have.

And, contrary to what you see on TV, in this part of the country we didn’t get much in the way of “aid.” Most “aid” was offered contingent on what your insurance company did, and if they did nothing, you got the really short end of the stick. Here in coastal Mississippi, we heard a lot of promises, but in the end, we wished we’d lived in New Orleans, because that seems to be the only place that got any real “attention.”

It’s like everywhere else didn’t really even exist. Infuriating as that is, we’re just using common sense, and whatever resources we can bring to bear, to find solutions to difficult problems.

The “aid” programs are so filled with political twists and “almost impossible to navigate bureaucracy,” that they’re almost worthless unless you have 40 hours a week to comb through them, and a Ph.D. in double-speak.

I think it’s because that way, politicians can claim they fostered all these programs (thus insuring re-election), that in reality never get used, because the common man can’t possibly qualify for them.  You would think that I was looking for the “Lost Ark of the Covenant,” or something!

Some of you know that I’m exploring a series of programs that allow citizens to apply for grants to “re-urbanize” Mississippi. It seems that so many people fled Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, that the tax base took a severe hit. So, the Fed, and those self-aggrandizing poltroons in Jackson decided to give away small parcels of land, located in “re-urbanization corridors,“ to entice families to return and get taxed to death!

I coupled this with a grant underwritten by Homeland Security and the FAA, to remove old steel hangar buildings, to recycle into an alternative housing source. It seems that the Feds think terrorists are gonna drive up to your hangar and blow up the city with a car-bomb or something. So, they’re removing the old metal hangars, and replacing them with more durable, and “hardened” structures to protect the aircraft, and mankind as we know it.

Don’t get me started on this one, because it makes me crazy. You don’t store “fueled” aircraft, you fuel them on the tarmac, so there really isn’t anything highly volatile in a hangar, to explode and kill everyone for miles around, but whatever. And let’s not forget that small airports are seldom located in the middle of population centers, so that fuel’s gonna have to be REALLY REALLY high octane, to impact the “locals”…

But, I’ll  take advantage of this opportunity, to turn a pig into a purse… I have the (3) hangars all picked out, already.

The caveat is that you can’t sell off any of the material, and you have to use it to build a “private structure,” not for resale. Okay, I’m in.

In fact, I’m trying to tie four different grants together, to allow the construction of a home for my family. I’m gonna “re-use, recycle, redesign, restore, and renew” a whole bunch of stuff, to get “the palace of my dreams.” I am tying the land, the structure, the “recycling,” and the “energy efficiency” into one big, tidy package, and waiting to watch the Fed Grant checks roll in, to help me finance/pay for it all.

And, I’m gonna do it cost-effectively, and hopefully without much of a a mortgage, on the other side. Plus, I’ll get a tax credit or two that I’ll probably never benefit from, but…

Next time, I’ll let you in on how I’m dealing with all the “snags and loopholes” that have sprung up, to try and stop me in my tracks…

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