Adequate housing is a major concern in the city of Gretna. City officials say 20 percent of the residents are now unemployed, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Helen Franks says, "We have water and sewer problems; we have hardly no business; we have unemployment.”
Now, help is on the way. A group of community leaders and city officials are meeting in Gadsden County for the 2005 Big Bend Area Counties Assistance Workshop. The goal of the program is to provide information about grants and monies available to help rural communities.
Curtis Richardson says, "Most of these communities have reached their taxing limited and they need some assistance from the state to be able to provide those services to their citizens so they can get the same quality of life as communities throughout our state."
Gretna city officials are hoping to use the information and get funds to lure companies to their industrial park.
The mayor says jobs, health care and affordable housing are some of the major issues in the city and she's hoping the meeting will give her the necessary information she needs to combat those problems.
Organizers say those problems affect many rural communities in our area and can be addressed with resources from various state agencies.
The meeting addressed an array of topics including economic and housing developments, transportation, wastewater and health services.