Several Mississippi groups have appealed a judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Department of Housing and Urban Development redirected funds intended for Hurricane Katrina recovery to a long-standing port project.

Lawyers from Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Pepeo, the Mississippi Center for Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights filed the appeal on behalf of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP, the Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center and four individual plaintiffs.

The suit alleged that $570 million in emergency relief funds that were originally intended to assist low-to-moderate income victims of Hurricane Katrina instead went to the expansion of the Port of Gulfport, Miss.

In January, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson granted a motion to dismiss the case in Washington, D.C., saying the plaintiffs could not prove the decision directly harmed them.

However, the plaintiffs claim the judge didn’t realize that many people are still trying to rebuild their homes almost five years after the catastrophe.

“We believe that the Judge failed to recognize the legally proper personal stake these plaintiffs—individuals whose homes are still in shambles and organizations who stand up for those individuals—have in the proper oversight of federal post-Katrina relief money appropriated by Congress,” Larry Schoen of Mintz Levin said in a press release. “We believe when these individuals voices are allowed to be heard, an opportunity that was not afforded to them in the district court, that we will prevail.”

The suit alleges that the federal department didn’t ensure the proper distribution of emergency relief funds, instead using it on an economic development project which had been in the works for years before the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast.

“HUD’s repeated failures to properly oversee the use of the federal monies that Congress appropriated for hurricane disaster relief, which continues today, four years after this devastation occurred, have caused substantial harm to plaintiffs,” Reilly Morse of the Mississippi Center for Justice said in a statement.