Governor Announces Project to Extend Study of Gulf Coast
From: Office of the Governor
Filed 10/24/06 GCN
(JACKSON, Mississippi) * Governor Haley Barbour announced today that the
National Association of REALTORS® and the Mississippi Association of
REALTORS® have donated $155,000 to enable the RAND Corporation to extend
its study of affordable housing needs along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi.
"From the earliest days after Hurricane Katrina, it was obvious that
housing for displaced coast residents would be the dominant issue for a
long time," Governor Barbour said. "Many organizations and government at
all levels are putting extraordinary efforts into improving the
availability and affordability of housing and I certainly welcome specific
recommendations that enhance the strategic rebuilding and renewal plan
that is under way."
The study by the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute (RGSPI) will focus on
low- and moderate-income housing in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson
counties, which sustained about 90 percent of the serious damage
Mississippi suffered from Hurricane Katrina.
"This project will help private companies and public organizations gain
the insight they'll need to effectively continue rebuilding in
Mississippi, and to provide the Governor's office with economic expertise
to help it craft the sound policies that will revitalize the housing
market and the state's economy," said Thomas M. Stevens, National
Association of REALTORS® President from Vienna, Va.
MAR President Pam Beard, Vicksburg, and Henry Ray, 2006 NAR Vice President
& Liaison to Government Affairs, Birmingham, Ala., joined RAND President
and CEO James A. Thomson in a meeting with Governor Barbour in the
governor's office today to discuss the new study.
"RAND is committed to providing the objective research and analysis that
will help Mississippi rebuild badly needed affordable housing," Thomson
The RGSPI study will seek to provide the state with answers to the
* What was the housing market like in the three counties before Katrina
* How much damage did the hurricane cause to housing in the three
counties, and what will it cost to repair the damage?
* How much of the housing recovery can be accomplished by the market
itself, and how many special programs will be needed to assist the
* What policy options are available to help in the affordable housing
"We are so honored to be partners in this important project that will
guide our leaders as they develop and implement solutions to the current
housing crisis along our coast," said Beard, who spearheaded the
initiative on behalf of MAR.
RGSPI, based in Jackson, was created in late 2005 to develop a long-term
vision and strategy to help build a better future for Louisiana,
Mississippi and Alabama in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
RAND, a nonprofit research organization, joined with these seven
universities to create RGSPI: Jackson State University and the University
of Southern Mississippi in Mississippi; Tulane University, the University
of New Orleans and Xavier University in Louisiana; and Tuskegee University
and the University of Southern Alabama in Alabama.
RGSPI issued a study titled "Rebuilding Housing along the Mississippi
Coast: Ideas for Ensuring an Adequate Supply of Affordable Housing," in
June. That study warned that tens of thousands of Mississippi families
whose homes were damaged or destroyed by hurricanes last year will have a
hard time finding replacement housing in the state unless leaders in
government and the private sector take action to accelerate the rebuilding
of affordable housing.
The funding to continue the study is that latest effort from Mississippi
REALTORS® to promote post-Katrina housing opportunity and assist
Mississippians directly affected by the storm. Since September 2005, MAR
has dispersed more than $3 million in relief funds to over 3,000 families,
purchased building supplies to aid in reconstruction efforts led by the
Lutheran-Episcopal Disaster Response and funded a program designed to
assist with repairs to rental properties and get more back on the market.
All of this was possible due to the generous contributions made by NAR and
REALTORS® across the country to the Mississippi REALTOR Hurricane Relief
The Mississippi Association of REALTORS® is the business advocate for
Mississippi real estate professionals, representing 6,000 residential and
commercial real estate professionals active in all phases of brokerage,
development, property management and appraisal.