HUD Approves $1.2B in Grants for Mississippi
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today approved $1.2 billion in grant assistance for the state of Mississippi, including $700 million for the second phase of Mississippi's Homeowner Assistance Program to help thousands of lower-income homeowners recover from Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Jackson gave the Department's green light to a $500 million plan to support economic development and job growth in 49 disaster-affected counties in the State. "This is a good plan that recognizes many lower income, elderly and disabled Mississippians are still struggling to get back on their feet," said Jackson, who made the announcement with Governor Haley Barbour and other officials in Mississippi at Gulfport City Hall. "The plan we approve today will help thousands of households to plan for tomorrow and will ensure working families will still have a home in Mississippi. I'm also pleased to approve a plan that will stimulate economic development and job growth in dozens of devastated counties in South Mississippi." The Homeowner Assistance Program's second phase includes $700 million in grants up to $100,000 per eligible homeowner in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl River counties. In exchange for this assistance, a covenant will be placed on the property that obligates all current and future homeowners to comply with building codes, flood insurance and elevation requirements. Homeowners receiving this assistance will also be required to guarantee that the home will be owner-occupied for at least three years. Homeowners who choose to relocate must do so in one of Mississippi's lower six counties. HUD said that approximately 9,000 lower-income households will be eligible for grants under this program. The economic develop plan will provide grants of up to $10 million to 49 Presidentially-declared disaster counties in the state. The program is slated to devote $160 million of the $500 million to community revitalization and planning grants to local governments in the six coastal counties, including George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, and Stone.