Update on Katrina Homeowner Assistance
From: Mississippi Development Authority Filed 6/28/06 GCN
As the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) continues its efforts to assist homeowners affected by Hurricane Katrina, the agency is working to develop and refine new programs while moving forward with the approval process for the Katrina Homeowner Assistance Grant Program.
To date, some 16,500 applications were received for the Katrina Homeowner Grant Program. Officials are currently completing title searches, damage assessments and other verifications for each application.
Because of discrepancies between insurance values and replacement costs for many properties, MDA is making a modification to increase insurance values used in calculating grant amounts by 35 percent. This increase will help compensate for the increased construction costs caused by the enormity of the disaster. All the other core elements of the program are unchanged.
Second Chance For Katrina Grants
With the new grant amounts, MDA will be accepting new appointments from homeowners who did not previously apply for the Katrina Homeowner Grant because of previous award limits. To make an appointment for the original Katrina Homeowner Grant program, call 866.369.6302. Please note that Katrina Grants do not impact federal or state benefits being paid, such as veteranís benefits or disability payments. MDA urges all eligible citizens to apply.
Fund disbursement for the Katrina Homeowner Grant program is being delayed due to a public comment from The Mortgage Bankers Association, the Consumer Mortgage Coalition and the Housing Policy Council regarding the programís Environmental Assessment study. In their comment, these organizations challenge the adequacy of the MDAís environmental analysis.
To resolve the issue, MDA has submitted a response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) outlining the reasons the mortgage industryís comments should be discounted. Assuming no further objection or legal action from the mortgage industry, MDA plans to initiate grant payments in July.
Other MDA Programs
The agency is finalizing details of the Public Housing Assistance Program, which will provide $100 million to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Housing Authorities in Jackson, Hancock and Harrison Counties that suffered damage. Draft action plans for the Ratepayer and Wind Pool Mitigation and the Gulf Coast Regional Infrastructure Programs have also been released for public comment and are available for review at www.mississippi.org .
MDA is asking all low to moderate-income homeowners whose homes flooded due to storm surge to register with the agency for future assistance programs. MDA will use this information to help develop and distribute additional assistance programs.
Mississippi Development Authority is airing a television appeal from Governor Barbour asking these citizens to register. So far, MDA has scheduled about 3,500 registration appointments.
To make an appointment to register, please call 866-369-6302.
Any low to moderate income homeowners who previously applied for a Katrina Homeowner Grant will be automatically registered for any relevant new programs. There is no need to apply again.
For more information about the above programs, visit www.MsHomeHelp.gov or www.mississippi.org or call 1.866.369.6302. Mississippi Development Authority ∑ P.O. Box 849 ∑ Jackson, MS 39205-0849 ∑ www.mississippi.org ∑ (601) 359-3449