JOHN C. STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- Navy families starting the recovery phase after Hurricane Katrina began moving into temporary housing at John C. Stennis Space Center the week of Sept. 18.
After weeks of being separated due to hurricane evacuation and seeking safe haven in neighboring states, some Navy families are beginning to move back into the Mississippi area to start living together as a family again.
Housing Directors in the Gulf Coast region are working with Task Force Navy Family to procure temporary and permanent housing for active duty, reserve, retired, and Department of the Navy families. All possible avenues to get families into temporary and permanent homes have been pursued, including filling available on-base housing, receiving assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and using local realtors to help locate habitable homes.
Lora Serpas, wife of Armand Serpas who works here at the Naval Oceanographic Office, and her two boys were glad to be back in Mississippi after spending the last several weeks in Clear Lake, Texas, with extended family members. "We are very appreciative that we have this. I don't know where we'd be if we didn't have this."
Lora said she is very happy with the thirty-foot travel trailer she and her family moved into, one of 50 travel trailers set up by FEMA in the newly-formed "Whispering Pines" subdivision at John C. Stennis Space Center. "It's our own little home. The kid's love it. They think they are on a camping adventure," she said.
Serpas described his surprise at the 13 feet of water that overtook their Mississippi home during Hurricane Katrina. "We knew we lived in a flood zone by the Jordan River, but we were expecting two or three feet of water...not 13."
Serpas and his wife have decided they will build on higher ground and expect to be living in the FEMA travel trailer for several months.
For Navy Family members who need additional information or assistance, please call the Navy Personnel Command's Emergency Coordination Center at (877) 414-5358, or visit http://www.navy.mil.
For the latest Navy news on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/hurricane/.