Shortly after the storm our friend, Stephen Ake, began makeing simi-regular trips to Lakeshore. After graduation from Georgia Tech and getting a real job, he has not been able to visit in about 10 months. He recently used his vacation time to return to Lakeshore. He reports:
There are a lot more commercial stores open now than were last time I came down. The church started building its 27th house while I was there. The process of building houses runs a lot more like clockwork now. The church even has a floor plan for the “Lakeshore House” – a small two bedroom, one bathroom, utility room, and combined living/dining/kitchen area that they are building for elderly people, people on fixed income, and others who can’t afford to rebuild their house after FEMA turned up its bureaucratic nose at them and the insurance companies left them high and dry. In some cases, the church will help people who have some money build a larger house – since all the volunteers work for free, the homeowner can use their money solely for materials and let the volunteers build it. In any case, Lakeshore, and the communities of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, and the rest of southern Hancock County are not going to run out of people needing new homes anytime soon. It’s been two and a half years after the hurricane, and there are still countless people living in FEMA trailers with formaldehyde who currently don’t have anywhere else to live. Don Elbourne, the pastor of Lakeshore Baptist Church, told me that they expect to be doing rebuilding for at least another 3-5 years, so the opportunity to help out down there isn’t going away anytime soon.
You can read his full report, “Back from Lakeshore.” As always, Stephen brought his camera and snapped loads of great pictures. Visit his Lakeshore photo gallery for pictures from this and previous trips.