Governor Announces New Phases for Housing Assistance Plan
New Programs to Target Low and Moderate Income Homeowners
From: Office of the Governor
Filed 9/21/06 GCN
Two new phases of a comprehensive approach to meet critical housing needs
for victims of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Coast were announced
today by Governor Haley Barbour.
"Housing is the most critical component of our recovery from Hurricane
Katrina and these two new initiatives will help thousands more displaced
Coast families take another step toward restoring normalcy in their daily
lives," Governor Barbour said. "I have submitted these plans to the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development and hope federal officials
will act quickly to approve them."
The new initiatives, which build on a homeowner assistance grant program
that is currently under way, contain a number of elements as outlined
below (for a complete description of these initiatives and other details,
go to www.governorbarbour.com):
Phase II of the Homeowners Assistance Grant Program
Phase II is designed to help 7,000-10,000 low to moderate income
homeowners whose homes were damaged by the storm surge but were not
eligible for Phase I of the homeowner grant program, Governor Barbour
said. Such homeowners can qualify regardless of whether they were
uninsured or under-insured and regardless of whether their homes were
inside or outside the flood plain. Some 13,000 to 15,000 homeowners
qualified for Phase I of the program and are in the process of receiving
Under the new program, homeowners would receive a subsidy of up to $50,000
to fill the gap between the cost to rebuild/repair and the homeowner's
ability to pay. This subsidy also would be available to homeowners who
choose to sell the damaged property and relocate somewhere else within the
lower six counties in Mississippi. To be eligible for the subsidy, the
homeowner must agree to stay in the home for at least five years, either
on the pre-Katrina site or in the relocated home.
An additional subsidy of up to $25,000 would be available to homeowners
with disabilities or special needs. A significant component of this
program would be financial counseling for the homeowners.
Increasing the supply of rental housing
Hurricane Katrina destroyed a significant portion of the rental properties
on the Gulf Coast. Many of these were single family units, duplexes, or
other small rental properties. By offering $25,000 per unit in two annual
installments to owners of 10 units or less in exchange for certain
conditions on affordability, more than 5,000 rental units will become
available to lower and workforce income families.
In addition, the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act authorizes the Mississippi Home
Corporation to allocate approximately $35 million in annually in Low
Income Housing Tax Credits in 2006, 2007, 2008. The Mississippi Home
Corporation awards these federal tax credits based on a competitive
scoring process conducted according to the "Qualified Allocation Plan"
approved by the Governor.
In August 2006, Mississippi Home Corporation awarded more than $10 million
of housing tax credits which will facilitate the construction of 1,006
housing units in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties. These
units are available only to families with incomes of less than 60% of the
Area Median Income.
To ensure that more of the tax credits are directed to the areas that need
them the most, the Mississippi Home Corporation is restructuring the
Qualified Allocation Plan at Governor Barbour's urging. Not only will the
new plan ensure that more credits are used in the lower six counties, the
revised plan encourages innovative mixed income developments that will
provide new rental housing for families between 60% and 80% of the Area
Median Income and new market rate rental units.
It is estimated these federal tax credits will spur the construction of
more than 5,000 rental units in the lower six counties. In addition,
previously-announced plans will provide 2,500 units of public housing.
Collectively, these three programs will enable construction of more than
Also, to assist former renters' transition to homeownership, the
Governor's office is working with non-profit groups, the Mississippi
Development Authority, and others to develop a financial assistance plan
similar to the one designed for the Phase II applicants.
Governor Barbour said the newest initiatives are part of his comprehensive
approach to addressing the critical housing needs of people on the
Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. So far, his comprehensive
plan includes initiatives that:
-Compensate homeowners who relied to their detriment on those who said
they did not need flood insurance;
-Assist uninsured and underinsured lower income homeowners affected by the
-Lower borrowing costs to encourage new homeownership;
-Restore lost public rental housing; rebuild and construct affordable
rental units for lower income families;
-Mitigate the increasing cost of insurance for homeowners;
-Pursue innovative housing solutions such as modular housing;
-Help local governments with the burden of inspecting and permitting
housing construction; and
-Construct new public water and sewer infrastructure to facilitate new
With the programs outlined in the Governor's plan, more than 35,000
households of both homeowners and renters will receive assistance.
For more details on the Governor's comprehensive housing plan, go to