Hattiesburg woman receives new home five years after tornado

A Pine Belt non-profit started construction this week on the last area home slated for reconstruction following the 2017 tornado.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:58 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A Pine Belt non-profit started construction this week on the last area home slated for reconstruction following the 2017 tornado.

Carolyn Smith, a 60-year-old grandmother in Hattiesburg, has spent the last five years in a home damaged by the 2017 EF3 tornado that ravished the Hub City. Luckily for her, the wait won’t be much longer.

On Thursday, June 30, Smith signed the papers to start the restoration of her home. Prior to the date, however, Smith said she was losing hope.

“At first, I thought they gave up on me,” said Smith. “It had been five years.”

Smith then received a call from Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi (R3SM) saying that they had received the funds to rebuild her home. She said she was overwhelmed with joy.

“It just reminds me of hope,” said R3SM Executive Director Mavis Creagh. “That’s what we’re giving the client. When the dust settles and everything is said and done, you’re giving hope back to families, communities, and rebuilding and revitalizing the areas that oftentimes are overlooked.”

Smith’s roof has leaked for the past five years, causing mold and mildew, but luckily, that will no longer an issue.

“When it rains, I don’t have to worry about leaks or mold building up,” said Smith. “I don’t have to worry about dumping tubs or being worn out when I go to work.”

Demolition on the home started on Tuesday. Once the debris is cleared from the site, a team of volunteers will come to help start rebuilding.

“I am just so happy because I am about to have a brand new home,” said Smith.

While the home is being restored, Smith is staying with friends and family members.

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