HUD No. 07-102
July 11, 2007
JACKSON OK'S $263 MILLION PLAN TO HELP RESTORE AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING IN SOUTH MISSISSIPPI
Mississippi plan to offer up to $30,000 per unit to landlords
WASHINGTON - In an effort to boost the affordable rental housing market in South Mississippi, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today okayed a $262.5 million state plan to help landlords of small rental properties in the Magnolia State to recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Mississippi's Small Rental Property Assistance Program is designed to promote the repair, rehabilitation and new construction of rental properties located in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl River Counties.
Mississippi will offer landlords of small rental properties up to $30,000 per unit in the form of a forgivable loan provided they maintain affordable rents for five years. The funding is part of $5.4 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) assistance that Congress directed HUD allocated to Mississippi following the Hurricanes of 2005.
"The long-term recovery of these coastal counties requires the restoration of thousands of rental properties that were damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Katrina," said Jackson. "Governor Barbour understands this pressing need for affordable rental housing in South Mississippi and this plan will go a long way toward ensuring working families will have an affordable place to call home."
Governor Haley Barbour said, "I greatly appreciate Secretary Jackson and HUD working with us to provide new, innovative solutions to create more affordable rental housing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This program will complement our other initiatives which are helping thousands of Mississippi families rebuild their homes after the worst natural disaster in American history."
Senator Thad Cochran said: "Although we have made tremendous progress along the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina, a lack of affordable housing remains one of the areas of greatest concern. In order for South Mississippi to return as strong as ever, we must ensure that all sectors of the population and workforce have the opportunity to rent or own homes at a fair price. I am pleased the Department Housing and Urban Development has taken steps to meet this need by providing incentives for landlords to make their properties more readily available to all citizens along the Coast."
"Access to housing is one of the primary goals of Mississippi's ongoing recovery, and I have been pleased to work with Secretary Jackson to secure these federal funds," said Senator Trent Lott. "This incentive will certainly help hasten the rebuilding effort, and I'll continue looking for innovative ways to support having a healthy housing market along the coast."
Landlords seeking assistance must meet several requirements to be eligible for the Small Rental Assistance Program, including:
- All housing units must be located in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties.
- All rental properties must contain between one and four units.
- Owner occupants of two or more units can only receive assistance on rental units.
- Leases must be for a minimum of six months.
- Rental units and properties must comply with federal, state and local building codes.
- Hazard insurance must be maintained and, if necessary, flood insurance taken out on their rental properties.
To qualify for forgivable loans, owners must also agree to rent their units to tenants whose household incomes do not exceed 120 percent of their area's median income for a period of five years. For example, landlords in the Gulfport-Biloxi metropolitan area would be required to rent to families whose household income is below $57,840. In addition, Mississippi's plan would require that approximately one half of the units must be rented to families earning less than 80 percent of their area's median income.
Each eligible applicant may receive up to $30,000 per unit as a forgivable loan. The loan will be interest-free and the principal will be forgiven if certain conditions are met. Should landlords fail to meet any of the terms of their agreement, penalties will be applied and the loan will convert to an interest-bearing note. Resale of the property within the five-year affordability period may trigger repayment of the loan.
Gulf Coast Regional Infrastructure
Jackson also approved an additional $55 million to supplement the State's Gulf Coast Regional Infrastructure Program. This program will help local areas in Mississippi meet demands on existing infrastructure caused by population shifts that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and to accommodate future growth. The program will also help Mississippi to move toward and implement a regional infrastructure system - a necessity to promote maximum use of resources and efficiency of services.
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 and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.