|HUD No. 06-078
July 10, 2006
HUD RELEASES $3 BILLION IN EMERGENCY FUNDING TO MISSISSIPPI
Jackson to make televised statement at 3:30 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced he is releasing $3 billion to the state of Mississippi to help thousands of homeowners in the state to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Last April, HUD approved Mississippi's plan that is part of $5 billion allocated in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to help the state in its long-term recovery efforts. Jackson will make a televised statement on the release of these funds this afternoon (see details below).
Today's release of funds means thousands of qualified homeowners in Mississippi will shortly be receiving up to $150,000 to help them recover from Hurricane Katrina. The remaining $2 billion in CDBG funding will be made available to Mississippi once the State submits an amendment to its action plan for HUD's review.
"Today we take another step closer toward helping make Mississippi homeowners whole again," said Jackson. "Throughout this process, Mississippi was intent on getting this money to the very people who need it most. I'm confident that with the appropriate safeguards in place, Mississippians have created a homegrown plan to rebuild their local communities."
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said, "I am grateful to HUD for approving our plan and pleased that today's release of funds will get essential money into the hands of coastal homeowners who desperately need the help."
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.
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.
NOTE: Secretary Jackson will make a televised statement on today's release of funding to the State of Mississippi at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Satellite Channel AM-1 (C-band), Transponder 9, 3880 Mhz Horizontal, 103 degrees West Longitude.