April 4, 2006
HUD APPROVES $3.4 BILLION MISSISSIPPI PLAN TO HELP STATE'S HOMEOWNERS
Funding is part of President Bush's commitment to Gulf Coast recovery
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced he is approving a $3.4 billion plan to help thousands of Mississippi homeowners to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Two months ago, Jackson allocated $5 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to help the State of Mississippi in its long-term recovery efforts. Today's approval means thousands of qualified homeowners in Mississippi can receive up to $150,000 to help them recover from Hurricane Katrina.
Last Friday, Mississippi submitted a $3.4 billion partial action plan to HUD that focuses on providing a one-time grant up to $150,000 to certain eligible homeowners whose primary residences were flooded by Hurricane Katrina's storm surge. The remaining $1.6 billion in CDBG funding will be made available to Mississippi once the State submits another action plan for HUD's review.
"It's critical that we move quickly to help Mississippi homeowners to recover and rebuild not only their homes, but their lives,"said Jackson. "This funding is part of President Bush's commitment to help the Gulf Coast recover and for HUD's part, we stand ready to help in any way we can as we move along that long road toward making Mississippi whole again."
Governor Haley Barbour said, "I am grateful for HUD's assistance in working with us to get this desperately needed aid to homeowners as quickly as possible and very pleased with approval of our plan to provide up to $150,000 for homeowners who lived outside the federally designated flood zone, yet flooded due to Hurricane Katrina. HUD's approval means the program can officially open on April 17, getting essential money into the hands of coastal homeowners who desperately need the help to rebuild and repair."
Senator Trent Lott said, "I'm pleased that Secretary Jackson and the staff at HUD have approved Mississippi's partial action plan. Senator Cochran and I worked very hard to secure this funding through the legislative process specifically to help homeowners who, even though they were outside the flood plain, saw their homes washed away. Now, thousands of these Mississippians who're stuck with a slab and a mortgage can truly begin the process of rebuilding and recovery."
Mississippi's CDBG-funded plan includes:
Homeowner Grant Assistance Program - It's estimated that more than 65,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed in Southern Mississippi by Hurricane Katrina. Approximately 31,000 Mississippi homeowners whose properties were located outside of established flood plains have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Of these, nearly 27,000 homeowners either carried no flood insurance or were underinsured.
The state's plan includes $3 billion in grants up to a maximum $150,000 per eligible homeowner. In exchange for this assistance, a covenant will be placed on the property that obligates all current and future homeowners to comply with building codes, flood insurance and elevation requirements.
Elevation Grant Program - An estimated $250 million will be made available to eligible homeowners up to a maximum $30,000 per grant. This assistance is designed to help defray the added costs associated with raising homes to meet new elevation requirements.
Local Assistance Program - Mississippi's plan includes $5 million to help Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River, and Jackson Counties to pay for the added costs of paying additional permitting and building inspectors for one year.
Fraud Prevention and Investigation Program - The Mississippi Development Authority will devote $5 million for the creation of a Katrina Fraud Prevention and Investigation Team to augment other state and federal efforts to mitigate waste, fraud and abuse. Managed by the Office of the State Auditor, this anti-fraud unit will investigate instances of suspected abuse during application review and eligibility process.
To read the full text of Mississippi's approved partial action plan, visit HUD's website.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.