Home | About | Contact | Staff

January 24, 2008




$723 million in affordable housing assistance made available through comprehensive housing programs


(JACKSON, Mississippi) - Governor Haley Barbour today announced a second round of funding that will pump an additional $112 million into the Small Rental Assistance program and spur development of more affordable rental housing units on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The additional funds will bring the program’s total allocation to $262 million and fund development of as many as 7,500 affordable housing units.


“Since Katrina, we’ve understood that a comprehensive recovery strategy not only addresses community and economic development but also targets specific housing needs, particularly for low income Mississippians,” Governor Barbour said. “The Small Rental program is one of the many ways we’re addressing the needs of coastal residents who otherwise might not be able to secure housing or rebuild their homes, so this additional money is critical to making sure our program is better equipped to work toward the goal of providing affordable housing on the Gulf Coast.”


Additional funding for the housing recovery program comes after the announcement the Small Rental Assistance program, as well as Elevation Grant program, has cleared a major environmental review, as required by federal law. Both programs are now in a federally-mandated public comment period ending Feb. 8.


The Small Rental Assistance program draws funding from the $5.4 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant funds appropriated to Mississippi for hurricane recovery and rebuilding efforts. In total, Governor Barbour has directed that $3.95 billion -or about 72% - be used on housing or housing-related programs. These programs are being administered under the Governor’s comprehensive housing recovery plan, which includes a total of $723 million for affordable housing programs.


By providing $262 million in forgivable loans to owners of small rental properties, the Small Rental Assistance program will create more affordable rental housing for lower income and workforce-income level families. Under the program, rental property owners must commit to rent to low-to-moderate income residents, with more than half of residents at 80% or less area median income. The program is expected to produce an estimated 6,500 to 7,500 rental housing units.


Programs have been developed to assist low-to-moderate income Mississippians as part of Governor Barbour’s comprehensive housing recovery strategy. Collectively, these programs are expected to produce between 17,300 and 21,300 affordable housing units.


These programs include:


• The Long Term Workforce Housing program, a $250 million plan which must meet HUD requirements regarding low income families and is expected to produce an estimated 3,300 to 6,300 housing units for workforce income families;


• Mortgage Revenue Bond, a program administered by the Mississippi Home Corporation; Governor Barbour allocated $220 million in bond authority to the MHC to create below-market interest rates and provide assistance with closing costs equal to 3% of the loan, assisting nearly 2,000 families realize their dreams of homeownership;


• Public Housing Authorities, which uses Governor Barbour’s directive of $105 million in Community Development Block Grants to assist the five public housing authorities in building and reconstructing an estimated 2,000 damaged or destroyed public housing along the Coast; additionally, the Governor directed MHC to create a set aside in their funding rounds;


• GO Zone Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which are used to build rental housing for tenants earning 60% or less area median income. Governor Barbour has directed MHC to direct maximum funding to the coast, at a projected $106 million value. Administrators anticipate 5,500 units will be built under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program in the coastal counties over the next two years.


In addition to the programs that primarily benefit low-to-moderate income families, Governor Barbour’s unprecedented relief measure, the Homeowners Assistance Grant Program, provides grants directly to homeowners. As of January 23, 2008, 17,057 grants had been approved under Phase I, at a value of more than $1.09 billion; under Phase II, 4,356 grants had been approved with a value of more than $216.8 million. Forty percent of Phase I recipients are low-to-moderate income homeowners, with over half the household incomes under $50,000. In Phase II, which was specifically targeted to assist low-to-moderate income applicants, 80% of the recipients qualify as low income with half the household incomes at less than $25,000.