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December 20, 2006




(Gulfport, Mississippi) – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s approval of two new components of Mississippi’s comprehensive Hurricane Katrina recovery program means additional assistance for potentially thousands of coastal homeowners, businesses and local governments.


In a news conference today at Gulfport City Hall, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson was joined by Governor Haley Barbour and U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in announcing approval of Phase II of the Homeowner Assistance Program and an economic development component designed to help local governments rebuild infrastructure and downtowns damaged by the hurricane.


“I am grateful to Secretary Jackson, HUD, Senator Cochran and the Mississippi Congressional delegation for their help in creating and implementing these important components of our comprehensive recovery plan for thousands of south Mississippi homeowners, business owners and local governments,” Governor Barbour said. “This new phase of our homeowners assistance program will help rebuild housing on the Coast for lower income, elderly and disabled homeowners, who are the people most at risk of not recovering from the worst natural disaster in American history.”


“The economic development feature will help local governments attract and retain new jobs by restoring infrastructure and revitalizing downtown areas destroyed by the hurricane,” Governor Barbour said.


Phase II provides funding up to a maximum of $100,000 for low to moderate income homeowners in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson or Pearl River Counties whose primary residence suffered flood surge damage from Hurricane Katrina. Such homeowners may qualify regardless of whether they were uninsured or under-insured and regardless of whether their homes were inside or outside the federally delineated flood plain.


A qualifying applicant must have household income at or below 120 percent of the Area Median Income, or about $63,000 a year for a family of four. An additional grant of up to $30,000 is available to help eligible applicants defray the cost of elevating their homes, if necessary.


This second phase is being funded from the $3.2 billion allocated through HUD for homeowner assistance grants.


Homeowners who already applied for grants during Phase One of the program or have already registered for follow-up programs do not have to re-register for Phase Two. However, homeowners who are uncertain of their status are encouraged to re-register at one of the service centers in Gautier, Gulfport or Bay St. Louis. No appointment is necessary. Homeowners may also contact the call center at 866.369.6302.


The economic development component will assist local governments affected by Hurricane Katrina by providing infrastructure to support economic development. The program provides grants or loans to local governments to help companies create or retain jobs; $340 million has been allocated to this program. The Community revitalization program provides funds to local governments to help rebuild downtown areas damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; $150 million has been allocated to this part of the program. And, $10 million has been allocated to prepare community plans for local governments located in Pearl River, Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties.