Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Mississippi Long Term Workforce Housing Program

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The Mississippi Development Authority’s Long Term Workforce Housing Program has been established to help create affordable workforce housing largely for the counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson that were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The program is part of the Homeowner Assistance Grant Program, and its budget is $241 million, or $350 million when administrative cost is taken into consideration. The program works to help individuals with low or moderate income, destroy or prevent slums or blight, and assist communities with a need for fast help due to an immediate threat to the well being of the residents living there.

The action plan of the program outlines its most prominent goals and the methods that will be employed to reach them. It defines Long Term Workforce Housing as housing that helps households who make 120% of the Area Median Income or less.

Nearly 9,000 families as of 2008 were still living in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after being displaced by hurricane Katrina, three years after it occurred. Most of these people currently had incomes below the 120% mark of the Area Median Income. One of the main goals of the Long Term Workforce Housing Program was to help these people find permanent housing.

In order to decide which individuals, businesses, and charities should receive assistance, the Development Authority created a point system based on several factors.

One criteria is practicality of whether the amount requested was reasonable for the good done. Bonuses were the ability of the individuals or organization to receive additional financing from other sources or provide some of the funding.

Other criterion was based on the plans, environmental friendliness, varied incomes of individuals helped by the proposed project, and the location of the project.  For example, it is favorable to be close to such amenities as downtown districts, employment centers, schools, public transportation, hospitals, fire stations, and police stations, and unfavorable to be near power plants and heavy industrial areas.

Applicants should also focus on the need for the project, the efficiency of the proposed schedule, the experience of the workers (including resumes for all team members), and the support of the community.

The program also works to ensure that a fair number of the contracts go to minority and woman’s businesses.