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2000 Best Practice Awards

Best of the Best Winners: Mississippi

Best Practice: Housing Opportunities for Mississippians Enhanced (H.O.M.E.)

Program Links Low-Income Families and HUD Foreclosed Homes

Jackson, Mississippi. Mississippi Regional Housing Authority Number VI in Jackson, Mississippi provides a comprehensive homeownership program to qualified families. The program, aptly titled Housing Opportunities for Mississippians Enhanced (H.O.M.E.), uses its Section 8 administrative fee reserves to purchase single family houses from HUD’s foreclosure inventory. The program offers the homes to qualified low-income persons who successfully complete the housing authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program. The program provides affordable standard housing for a critical segment of the population in the Jackson and Tchula, Mississippi

Photo of recipients receiving Best of the Best award
Sharon Wilson/Valeska Robinson receiving Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)

areas. The H.O.M.E. programs saw the need to increase homeownership opportunities to families living in the distressed areas that may never have had the ability to own their own home. At the same time, the program reduces HUD’s foreclosed inventory.

To date, the housing authority has sold nine homes in Hinds County and two in Holmes County. The housing authority finances the mortgage for 20 years at a ½ percent interest with a nominal downpayment. The selling price is based on the purchase and renovation cost by the authority, less depreciation. An escrow payment is included for taxes, insurance, and repairs and/or replacements to major housing components.

Programs like this are made possible through the use of Section 8 administrative fees and cooperation with the local HUD office. This program can be replicated by establishing qualification criteria, procedures and guidelines to finance the mortgages, escrow payments, taxes and insurance. With the cooperation between these two agencies, H.O.M.E. is model of cooperation between governmental agencies.

Contact: Sharon Wilson, Phone: (601) 373-7040
Tracking Number: 282
Winning Category: Geographic

Best Practice: Mississippi Home of Your Own: A program for Disability Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi

University-Funded Program Helps Persons with Disabilities Move Towards Home Ownership

Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Home of Your Own (HOYO), a program of the Institute for Disability Studies: Mississippi’s University Affiliated Program, helps individuals with disabilities realize the dream of homeownership through a broad range of support services and assistance. To date, 120 applications have been processed, and 11 homes have been purchased by 13 persons with disabilities through the assistance of the University of Southern Mississippi HOYO program.

The mission of the Institute for Disability Studies, which has existed in varying forms at the University of Southern Mississippi

Photo of recipients receiving Best of the Best award
Vicki Killingsworth/Ernestine Bilgrue/Joe Bradley receiving Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo standing (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)

since 1975, is to have a positive impact on the lives of persons with disabilities so that they may be more independent, more productive and more included in their communities. Services include education, recreation, vocational rehabilitation, employment and independent living. In 1997, the institute was awarded a grant from a similar program at the University of New Hampshire to establish a HOYO coalition of concerned members of housing agencies, disability organizations, lending institutions and consumers to address the housing needs of people with disabilities in Mississippi.

HOYO uses a holistic and collaborative homebuyer counseling process that empowers low-income people with disabilities to achieve homeownership. Through proven relationships with HOYO coalition members, disability service providers, housing organizations, lenders and numerous volunteers, individuals with disabilities receive the extensive counseling they need to achieve long-term homeownership. The needs of individuals and corresponding services provided by HOYO members are identified and matched, and pre- and post-purchase homebuyer education and counseling are provided.

Because the majority of people with disabilities live on a limited income, HOYO provides assistance with the down payment, closing costs and principal reduction. In addition, emergency maintenance and foreclosure prevention funds are available from the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development, and counselors help individuals qualify for the Fannie Mae Home Choice product, developed specifically for individuals with disabilities.

Without an established network of services able to cater to the varying needs of disabled individuals, many would not be able to live independently. The proportion of disabled Mississippians living in institutions is far higher than the national average, and by tapping into the HOYO program, IDS has set out to provide a comprehensive plan of assisted services to help draw disabled residents back into the community.

Contact: Vicki Killingsworth , Phone: (601) 266-5163
Tracking Number: 1306
Winning Category: Program (Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity)

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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