With the Mississippi Development Authority’s recent request for proposals for the long term workforce housing program, Gov. Haley Barbour’s comprehensive recovery strategy continues to assist housing needs on the Coast, particularly for low income Mississippians.
“Katrina didn’t discriminate. The storm leveled rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods, so our challenge—and top priority—has been to rebuild Coastal housing for all those affected,” Barbour said. “I’m proud of the policies we’ve set in place that help low-to-moderate income Mississippians move back into their houses and apartments, return to their communities and rebuild their lives.”
Barbour’s comprehensive housing recovery strategy addresses low-to-moderate income homeowners and renters. By enhancing housing opportunities, the workforce and economic engines of the Gulf Coast are able to find affordable housing, he said.
This unprecedented relief measure provides grants directly to homeowners to rebuild or repair damaged houses. As of Sept.18, more than $1 billion of the program’s phase one grants had been distributed to 13,886 applicants, with another $99 million distributed to 1,409 applicants from phase two.
Forty percent of phase one recipients are low-to-moderate income homeowners, with over half the household incomes under $40,000. In phase two, which was specifically targeted to assist low-to-moderate income applicants, 80 percent of the recipients qualify as low income with half the household incomes at less than $19,000.
Barbour allocated $120 million in bond authority to the Mississippi Home Corporation to issue Mortgage Revenue Bonds throughout the southern part of Mississippi, including the coastal counties. These bonds create below-market interest rates and provide assistance with closing costs equal to 3 percent of the loan, assisting nearly 1,000 low-to-moderate income families.
The Governor directed $105 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to assist the five public housing authorities in building and reconstructing damaged or destroyed public housing along the Coast. Additionally, the Governor directed the Mississippi Home Corporation to create a set aside in their funding rounds that will result in 1,275 rental units being constructed for public housing authorities.
Through the Long Term Workforce Plan, proposals will be taken from for-profit and non-profit entities to construct workforce housing along the southern-most counties, including Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River Counties. These proposals, which must meet HUD requirements regarding low income families, will leverage private capital with CDBG funds to construct single family, multi-family rental, and home ownership units that will be available to mixed income tenants and/or owners.
Other programs designed to assist all residents in the Gulf Coast area include the Ratepayer and Windpool Mitigation Program, which helps offset anticipated insurance premium and utility rate increases; the Economic Development Program, which provides funding to assist local governments in improving infrastructure; and Downtown Revitalization Grants, which assist in the rebuilding of downtown areas for economic development and job creation.
Source: Office of the Governor of Mississippi
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