Supervisors urged to seek extension of HOME grant time limit

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Time is running out for families to attempt to qualify for $25,000 toward the construction of a new home.

Lifetime Homes manager Jim Howard addressed the board about seeking an extension on the HOME Grant that was given to the county in 2006 by the Mississippi Development Authority. He said the deadline is Sept. 5.

The grant gave the county $250,000 for ten families to split evenly and put towards the construction of a new home. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said so far only four families have been approved for the grant. Six more need to be approved before the deadline or the remainder of the grant money will go back to the MDA.

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Howard asked the supervisors if they could contact local legislators to get an extension on the grant in the mean time.

During the past couple of years Howard said grant approvals were put on hold when a local developer fell ill and resistance developed in the City of Picayune based on public opinion that homes built with grants bring unwanted neighbors.

District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said there is a need for programs such as this one.

“I’m constantly getting calls from people (asking if) there are any grants out there to help them get a home,” Hales said.

People of all walks of life could benefit from this program. Hales said he has received calls from people who have jobs, some that work with Mississippi Power, who want stop paying rent.

Howard said the grant could also help people who work for the county, the cities, or other public jobs such as law enforcement or fire protection.

District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith said he has received calls from families who need their home repaired after it suffered storm damage from Hurricane Katrina. He asked if the funds in the grant could be used to do that. Howard said the house could not be repaired with the funds. If the house was torn down and an inspector determined that the slab was sound, then the grant could help build a new home on that site.

To become qualified for the grant the applicant needs to provide an approved loan application and other information. If the applicant is approved for the grant before the deadline, then those funds will be set aside for the qualifying applicant and held past the deadline.

“I think we need to do every thing we can to help people,” District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday said.

Howard said he can help interested parties apply for the grant. Howard can be reached at 601-794-1968.

In the next 90 days emergency generators should be installed at the Poplarville hospital, county jail, Picayune waste water treatment plant and Picayune Fire Station 1. The generators will be installed in order of priority. The hospital is first on the list, then the jail, said Emergency Management Director Danny Manley.

The board went into executive session to discuss tax assessor matters and contractual matters. Lumpkin said after the executive session the board approved a tax refund and the docket. The board also approved transferring property across from the Poplarville High School to the City of Poplarville to construct a new fire station.

The board also approved for the board president to sign a letter to send to Mississippi Emergency Management Agency concerning Chimney Square for approval. If that letter is approved then the board can go out for bids to rebuild Chimney Square.

The board also approved for the board president to sign a check to release bond and credit funds totaling about $23,000 to finish road work in Red Hill Estates, Lumpkin said.

In other business the board;

— Approved issuing fire insurance rebate checks to the volunteer fire departments.

— Approved the lowest and best quote of $10,809 for rubber tracks to be installed on a ditching machine.

A budget workshop meeting is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday. The next regular board meeting is at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 18.