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‘Sold Home’ Grant Checks Begin Going Out

To Date: 64 checks have been sent totaling $2.7 million

From: MDA News Release   Filed 6/19/08  GCN

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) has begun sending checks to 360 Gulf Coast homeowners who’ve qualified for federal grants under the agency’s “Sold Home Program,” designed to assist some homeowners who sold their Hurricane Katrina damaged residences before they could apply for assistance through the broader Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP). 

“The Sold Home Program is a way to provide grants to those who’d sold their damaged property after the storm and who could not obtain agreement from the new homeowner enabling them to receive the conventional HAP grant, which, of course, is calculated based on damage to the applicants primary residence on August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina made landfall.” said Lee Youngblood, Communications Director for MDA’s Disaster Recovery Division

Homeowners who’d sold their primary residences can receive up to $150,000 in HAP assistance only if they secure “covenants,” signed by the new homeowner.  Covenants were successfully obtained by about three-quarters of all homeowners who’d sold their damaged properties prior to learning of the HAP program.

In the remaining cases where the new owners would not sign covenants, MDA devised the “Sold Home” initiative, enabling the damaged property’s previous owners, the Sold Home applicants, to obtain a partial assistance grant.  These awards are either;70 percent of their maximum HAP grant if the applicant’s new primary residence is in Jackson, Harrison, Hancock or Pearl River counties; or 50 percent if the applicant’s new primary residence is outside the four Coastal counties.

“It took a lot of work and creativity to devise a plan by which federal hurricane recovery assistance would be granted to people who no longer lived at or owned their storm damaged home,” Youngblood continued.  “Nevertheless, working in conjunction with the federal regulators who approve how MDA disburses the federal Katrina relief package, MDA devised a plan to ensure that this category of Katrina’s victims has access to grant assistance, even without their former property or covenants.”

Beyond the 64 checks sent, more than 200 of the remaining 360 applicants have been award approved and are currently working toward closing.

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