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Governor Says 10,000th Homeowner Grant Check Delivered
From: Office of the Governor    Filed 1/24/07 GCN

Mississippi has delivered more than 10,000 grants under an unprecedented program to help homeowners along the Coast recover and rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Governor Haley Barbour announced today.

"This is a milestone," Governor Barbour said. "It means that approximately 75 percent of south Mississippi families who qualified under Phase I of our Homeowner Assistance Grant Program have received their checks, and this will help them get on with their lives." As of today, 10,002 Mississippi families have received grants. In Louisiana, a similar federally-funded grant program has distributed fewer than 200 checks.

"With unprecedented resources and flexibility from the federal government, the hard work of the people associated with state and local government, and most importantly, because of the spirit and determination of the people on the Coast and in the private sector, we are making progress. There is still much to be done, and the pace is still too slow to suit me, but we are making progress," Governor Barbour said.

Under the grant program, a first-of-its-kind endeavor, recipients have legally agreed that any rebuilt structure on that property must have flood insurance, be elevated out of danger, and built to the International Residential Building Code.

In total, closing packets have been sent to 13,207 households, and program administrators expect that about 14,000 homeowners will ultimately qualify for assistance under Phase I of the program.

Phase II of the comprehensive program, which is targeted to low and moderate income homeowners regardless of insurance or flood zone status, was approved by HUD shortly before Christmas. Grant notification packets to eligible applicants will be distributed in the first quarter of this year and, at that point, the financial counseling and closing process can begin.

Under Mississippi's plan, $100 million has been allocated to public housing authorities so they can rebuild 2,500 units of public rental housing, and other plans are in the works to boost construction of rental housing in the commercial market.

The state has also taken steps to spur new housing development by creating and implementing a $630 million plan for new water and sewer development; prevented massive utility rate increases and mitigated insurance rate increases; and by encouraging alternative housing options, such as modular homes.

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Statement From HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson on Mississippi's Distribution of its 10,000th Katrina Homeowner Recovery Grant

Today Secretary Jackson issued the following statement regarding the significant progress that the Governor and State of Mississippi has made in their post-Katrina homeowner recovery program:

"I am pleased to note that thanks to the state's aggressive efforts, as of today, 10,000 Mississippi homeowners have received the financial assistance they need to get back on their feet post-Katrina so they can rebuild their lives and homes.

"In the aftermath of this unprecedented disaster, the State of Mississippi has worked hard to build a fast and comprehensive recovery program that reduces bureaucratic red tape and fraud, and helps homeowners rebuild and recover.  With HUD's assistance, the state is working diligently to ensure that funds are being distributed quickly and responsibly."

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