HUD APPROVES HOMEOWNER
Application Process Begins April 17
of the Governor Filed 4/4/06 GCN
Governor Haley Barbour said today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development has approved Mississippi's unprecedented $3.4 billion plan to
award grants to Katrina-stricken homeowners, setting the stage for the
first applications to be taken April 17.
Under the program, homeowners who lived outside the federally designated
flood zone yet suffered flood damage due to the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane
may be eligible to receive grants of up to $150,000.
"I am very pleased that the Department of Housing and Urban Development
has approved our plan to provide up to $150,000 for homeowners who lived
outside the federally designated flood zone, yet flooded due to Hurricane
Katrina," Governor Haley Barbour said. "HUD's approval means the program
can officially open on April 17, getting essential money into the hands of
coastal homeowners who desperately need the help to rebuild and repair."
Money for the homeowners assistance grants will flow through the federal
Community Development Block Grant program, managed under HUD regulations
by the Mississippi Development Authority. Officials believe as many as
31,000 Mississippians may qualify for the program.
Governor Barbour also noted that as phase one of the homeowner assistance
program kicks off, officials are already working on a second phase
designed to focus on other housing programs to support Mississippians who
don't meet the initial grant criteria.
As for phase one, applications will be taken by appointment-only beginning
April 17 at Service Centers in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Gautier and
Jackson. Beginning Monday, April 10, homeowners can request an appointment
by calling 866-369-6302 or using an online appointment request form at
Application Guide Books with an application worksheet are available online
at www.MSHomeHelp.gov and will be
available by the middle of next week at FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers,
post offices, city halls, and many banks in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and
Pearl River Counties. Guide Books will be distributed in coast newspapers
on April 16. Spanish and Vietnamese language Guidebooks are also
An online application will be available by April 17 to allow those with
Internet access to pre-apply and shorten their visit to a Service Center.
Barbour noted the unprecedented and complex nature of the program. "The
Mississippi Development Authority has worked very hard to overcome as many
expected complications as possible, so that the application process will
run as smoothly as possible," he said. "But because no one has ever done a
grant program of this magnitude, I'm sure there will be bumps in the road
and I ask for peoples' continued understanding."
Under Hurricane Katrina Homeowner's Grant Program, homeowners may receive
up to $150,000 or the insured value of their home times the percentage of
damage the home received (whichever is less), less any insurance or FEMA
payments for structural damage. If homeowners have an SBA disaster loan,
SBA will perform a duplication of benefit analysis to determine if the
grant proceeds would be used to repay the loan. In addition, if homeowners
must elevate their houses when rebuilding to reduce the risk of damage
from future storms, they may be eligible for a separate program that, when
launched, will provide up to $30,000 to cover the higher cost of
To qualify for the Katrina Homeowner Grant:
* The home must have been owner-occupied as of Aug. 29, 2005
* The home must be located in Jackson, Hancock, Harrison or Pearl River
* The home must be outside of the federally designated 100-year flood
zone, yet flooded due
* The owner must have had homeowners' insurance.
Grant recipients must agree to attach the following as
covenants to their property.
* Maintain flood insurance on damaged residence in perpetuity.
* Rebuild or repair to applicable codes and local ordinances.
* Rebuild to newly recommended FEMA flood elevations.
* Manufactured housing (mobile homes) must comply with the Federal
Manufactured Housing Code.