After Hurricane Katrina, when Mae Beth Marshall first returned to the home she and her husband Caesar had shared in Pass Christian on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it wasn’t the homecoming she’d dreamt of. The house, says Mae Beth, “was fit to be burned in a bonfire.” Water had not only damaged the structure itself, but also family photos, scrapbooks, and treasured old papers from the couple’s ancestors. With the home uninhabitable, Mae Beth settled in a FEMA-issued home, where she lived for two years.
During those months, Mae Beth wanted to get herself and Caesar—who suffered a heart attack shortly after the hurricane and was wheelchair-bound—back home, and she started looking for ways to do so. In the process, Mae Beth learned about HOPE Enterprise Corporation, a CDFI that strengthens communities, builds assets, and improves lives across the impoverished Mid-South region.
HOPE connected Mae Beth with its Home Again program, which provided post-Katrina mortgage financing and recovery consultation services to eligible people in the coastal region of Mississippi. The program helped Mae Beth and Caesar get back into a home in the same place their original house stood, and it equipped the house with a lift for Caesar.
Ten years later, Marshall reflects on having a new house to call home, “This home means God meant for me to get through all this and end back here. I’m back. I’m here.”