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Governor Barbour





April 15, 2009

GOVERNOR BARBOUR ANNOUNCES 162 PUBLIC HOUSING
UNITS TO OPEN IN BILOXI

More than 600 public housing units will be available within 12 weeks

The Mississippi Development Authority’s Public Housing Grant Program - funded through Mississippi’s $5.4 billion federally provided Hurricane Katrina recovery package - is helping make more than 600 public housing units available during the next three months.

The first of these projects opened today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at McDonnell Avenue Apartments at 224 McDonnell Avenue in Biloxi. The $14.3 million development contains 162 public housing units and is funded entirely from disaster recovery funds administered by MDA.

“Like the homeless shelter geared toward job training and the affordable mortgage loan program we recently announced, this is yet another example of my administration’s nearly $1 billion commitment to constructing affordable housing that will help the Coast recover from Hurricane Katrina,” Governor Barbour said. “These public housing units may also help those living in temporary housing transition into more permanent living space, enabling many of them to stay on the Coast and fully realize Mississippi’s recovery.”

These units are far from the stark public housing tracts of decades past, Governor Barbour continued. These units are warm and inviting places to live in which the residents, the neighborhood and the community can take pride.

Working with local housing authorities in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties, the State of Mississippi has allocated $106 million in federally appropriated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to restore the public housing stock which was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

“Mississippi’s post-Katrina public housing program for our three Coastal counties is a recognized success story, with more than 1,800 of the more than 2,500 planned public housing units either complete, under construction or approved for construction,” Jon Mabry, Chief Operations officer of MDA’s Disaster Recovery Division said.

“Working with the local housing authorities, we anticipate this overall effort will actually leave the Coast with more public housing stock than was here prior to Hurricane Katrina,” Gerald Blessey, MDA’s Gulf Coast Housing Director said. “Housing and economic growth are mutually dependant, and that’s why Governor Barbour is committed to ensuring that Gulf Coast residents have access to affordable housing. This housing restoration is critical to enabling people to live here, work here, raise families and rebuild the Coast’s economy.”

Of 650 units already completed, about 300 are available. Another 336 units will be finished within the next 60 to 90 days, enabling more than 600 total units to be readily available by July, 1, 2009. An additional 509 units, which are now in the pre-construction stage, will come on line within the year.

Other available units include: 196 in Bay View Place and 76 in Cadet Point in Biloxi. Additionally, 96 units have been completed at the Highland Springs Apartment Complex and 120 units are at the Regency Way Apartments in Gulfport.