Coast clergy urge residents to oppose housing funds transfer to port

Opposition is growing to plans by the state to divert $600 million in post-Hurricane Katrina housing funds to rebuild the Port of Gulfport.

On Wednesday, a group of Gulf Coast ministers held a news conference to urge local residents to oppose the plan, which the Mississippi Development Authority announced on September 7th.

Pastor Jason Johnson of the Abundant Life Evangelical Church of Biloxi said the ministers' objective is to ensure the $600 million is used for its intended purpose.

Another pastor said faith-based organizations have been bearing the burden of unmet housing needs.

The Mississippi Development Authority issued a statement following the meeting saying the Port of Gulfport recovery is part of the plan that the governor submitted to Congress, the President and the Legislature in November 2005 to obtain the recovery funding.

Pastor Darrell Taylor of the Prince of Peace Baptist Church said the task force has collected more than 2,000 signatures on a petition opposing the plan.