RECOVERY NEWS

NEIGHBORHOOD RENTAL RESTORATION PROGRAM DEADLINE IS THIS MONDAY

Nell Rogers, Program Manager for the Mississippi Development Authority Disaster Recovery Division’s (MDA DRD) Neighborhood Rental Restoration Program (NRRP) reminds applicants that November 16, 2009, is the deadline for receiving NRRP applications.

The program provides forgivable loans up to $70,000 per unit for property owners who want to repair rental properties or convert existing structures to rental in areas below I-10 in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties.

“Since we began advertising the NRRP a couple of months ago, the response to this program has been very robust,” Rogers said. “We’re getting some very good applications that no doubt will produce many attractive, affordable rental properties at places that otherwise would have remained blighted or would have eventually become blighted.”

The NRRP requires participating property owners to rent their properties to households below 50 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) for ten years. The program also requires the property owner to ensure the property remains well maintained throughout the compliance term.

“Once the 10-year compliance period is up, the forgivable MDA/DRD loan essentially becomes a grant,” Jon Mabry, MDA DRD Chief Operations Officer said. “The NRRP is really a win for everyone involved. It helps cities repair or prevent post-Katrina blight, helps property owners repair properties that otherwise would have been unrepaired or abandoned, allows MDA DRD to provide affordable housing options, and, of course, it’s providing some really nice affordable units for people in traditional neighborhoods.”

For more information on how to apply for the NRRP, visit www.msdisasterrecovery.com.

Nell Rogers, MDA DRD Small Rental and NRRP Program Manager (left), along with Yohhana Goode, NRRP Program Manager (right), tour a NRRP project in Gulfport completed by applicant Gerald Watson (center).

The house pictured above is a nearly completed NRRP project in Gulfport.



MDA DRD AND BACK BAY MISSION HOST HOUSING SUMMIT ON NOVEMBER 19

Gerald Blessey, Mississippi Development Authority Disaster Recovery Division (MDA DRD) Gulf Coast Housing Director and Lynn Seals, MDA DRD Long Term Workforce Housing Program Manager will be on hand for the upcoming Back Bay Mission’s Fourth Annual Affordable Housing Summit.

“This summit is open to anyone from the public who is interested in our ongoing housing recovery along the Coast,” Blessey said. “Particularly in the past year, with recovery partners like Back Bay and other local organizations, we’ve made a lot of progress. We still have some housing challenges before us, especially in regards to access and affordability, which this summit will work to address.”

Collaboration, the success of affordable housing development, and sustainability are topics for the event, which will be held at the IP Casino Resort & Spa in Biloxi on Thursday, November 19, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The summit is intended to foster a dialogue about issues regarding the necessity of cross-sector collaboration for full and sustainable Gulf Coast housing recovery.

“Due to current financial markets, we view collaboration across all sectors as paramount to full affordable housing recovery post-Katrina,” said Dena Wittmann with Back Bay Mission.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Mississippi State University’s Michael J. Highfield, Ph.D., CFA. Highfield is an associate professor of finance and department head for finance and economics in the College of Business at Mississippi State. He received his BBA and MBA from Mississippi State and later earned his MS in Economics and Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Kentucky. His research has appeared in Financial Management, the Journal of Corporate Finance, the Financial Review, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and Real Estate Economics.

Summit facilitator will be Thomas A. Gordon, Ph.D., founder and principal of TAGA Consulting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He provides strategic counsel to Fortune 500 enterprises and executives globally, teaching clients to anticipate and respond decisively to complex challenges, design high performance goals, develop accountabilities to achieve them, and establish systems to track and reinforce them.

A licensed psychologist, Gordon graduated cum laude from Harvard University; earned his MA and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan, and completed post-doctoral mass media and conflict resolution study at the University of Pennsylvania/Annenberg School of Communication.

The summit will feature a number of affordable housing forums and breakout sessions. Panelists will include representatives from Urban Habitat Initiatives, MS Home Corporation, MS Development Authority, HUD (MS Field Office), Open Doors Homeless Coalition, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, MS Economic Policy Center, IRS (Area 3), and Center for Community Change.

Housing specialists, homebuilders, realtors and others interested in the affordable housing issue are invited to attend on November 19. The summit is available at no cost to participants; however, space is limited and registration is required. For more information or to register online, please visit www.thebackbaymission.org.



SUMMIT DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION BEGINS

The Mississippi Development Authority Disaster Recovery Division (MDA DRD) has awarded more than $40 million for recovery projects north of the Gulf Coast in counties along Hurricane Katrina’s destructive path. Included in this amount is more than $1 million for the town of Summit, in southwest Mississippi.

The town will use Katrina recovery funds to replace sidewalks, upgrade lighting and improve landscaping downtown.

“While this is not a big grant when compared to the larger projects Disaster Recovery is administering, it is certainly a very important project to Summit and will help improve the town dramatically,” said Tommy Walman, MDA DRD Community Revitalization Program Manager.

Walman, a former mayor of nearby McComb and long-time member of the Mississippi State Legislature, oversees more than $350 million in MDA DRD’s Community Revitalization Program, which is helping to rebuild and/or improve public facilities and infrastructure that were impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

As of November 2009 MDA DRD has more than 200 brick and mortar construction projects awarded with another 150 under construction.

MDA DRD and town officials from Summit begin a $1 million downtown revitalization project that will include sidewalks, lighting and landscaping upgrades.



PORT ALLIANCE AT MEC HOBNOB

Recently, at the Mississippi Economic Council’s Hobnob event in Jackson, members of the Port Alliance for Jobs and Community Development manned an informational booth in an effort to focus attention on restoration efforts underway at the Mississippi State Port at Gulfport.

Port Alliance volunteers provided information about the Port’s restoration program, its operations and facilities, and invited attendees to join the Port Alliance. The group also distributed almost 500 pounds of bananas to Hobnob participants, thanks to a generous donation of ripe bananas from Chiquita.

The Port Alliance for Jobs and Community Development is a volunteer group of citizens who support the Port Authority’s restoration plans. Members are charged with educating Mississippians about the restoration of the Port at Gulfport, because they recognize the critical role the Port plays in our state’s economy.

For more information about the Port Alliance for Jobs and Community Development, visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Business Council’s website at www.msgcbc.org.

The Port Alliance for Jobs and Community Development booth as it’s being prepared for MEC Hobnob.



MDA DRD FORMS CASE MANAGEMENT CONSORTIUM

The Mississippi Case Management Consortium (MCMC), a project of the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service has announced a new partnership grant of $1.5 million from the Mississippi Development Authority Disaster Recovery Division (MDA DRD) to provide disaster case management services for individuals and families currently residing in housing units funded by the Disaster Housing Assistance Program.

The MCMC will provide systematic case management services to this client population in the same manner that it has used to date to address the unmet needs of individuals and families residing in FEMA-funded temporary housing units. The program will run until March 2010 to assist 800 families with case management services.

“We’re pleased to partner with the MCMC as part of our ongoing effort to match people with affordable housing options,” said Jon Mabry, Chief Operations Officer for MDA DRD. “With about $1 billion of Mississippi’s Katrina recovery package dedicated to building affordable housing or providing financial assistance to those needing affordable housing, this partnership will help hasten Mississippi’s long-term recovery.”

The MCMC believes that the transition from a temporary housing disaster voucher to a permanent housing choice voucher is a process to which case management services can be effectively and rapidly applied. Throughout its period of performance to date, the MCMC has proven that its systemic case management approach is effective in connecting individuals in need with available resources while providing a measure of accountability to funders through data collection and reporting, which illustrates the range of issues that clients face. The MCMC has a sufficient infrastructure to support an additional caseload of clients by utilizing its network of 10 affiliate organizations positioned throughout Mississippi.

“The timeframe for this work is proposed for five months, which will allow our case managers to conduct outreach to the client population and will allow for the allocation of housing vouchers to come online,” says Marsha Meeks Kelly, Executive Director of the MCMC. “We anticipate the majority of families will be able to transition from a temporary to a permanent housing voucher within this projected timeline.”

The mission of the Mississippi Case Management Consortium is to deliver high quality disaster case management services to clients who meet eligibility criteria by focusing on the case management processes of assessment, planning, advocacy, linking and monitoring. For more information on the MCMC or this partnership, please visit www.MC-MC.org.



LONG BEACH OFFICIALS BREAK GROUND ON NEW CITY FIRE STATION

Mississippi Development Authority Disaster Recovery Division (MDA DRD) officials and leaders from Long Beach broke ground on a new city fire station on November 10. More than $1.8 million from the state’s Hurricane Katrina Recovery Fund is paired with $1.5 million from FEMA to construct the facility.

The new building will be built to withstand 200 mph winds. Mayor William Skellie, Jr. of Long Beach was serving as Mayor when Hurricane Katrina hit in August of 2005. Ironically, his father was Mayor when Hurricane Camille came ashore near Long Beach in August of 1969.

Above is an artist’s rendering of the new Long Beach Fire Station, built to stringent hurricane resistance standards.

Mayor William Skellie, Jr. welcomes officials and leaders to Long Beach's new city fire station ground breaking.



PORT OF GULFPORT PROGRESS REPORT

As of November 10, 2009, 421,313 cubic yards of sand have been used for the Port’s 60-acre West Pier fill project.



PERFORMANCE STATISTICS

Click on pie chart to view all of Mississippi's Katrina CDBG programs and status.

According to the Council of State Community Agencies, historically Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) have been utilized by states in the following manner:
Public Improvements 55%
Economic Development 17%
Housing 15%
Administration/Planning 9%
Acquisition 3%
Public Services 1%

In accepting CDBG funds states must make certain certifications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. States also have four major responsibilities for utilizing these funds:
- Formulate community development activities;
- Decide how to distribute funds among communities in non-entitlement areas;
- Select eligible activities, and
- Ensure recipients comply with applicable requirements.



CONTACT

This newsletter is produced by the Mississippi Development Authority Disaster Recovery Division.

Lee Youngblood, Disaster Recovery Division
lyoungblood@mississippi.org