Some 1,000 elevation grants OK’d on Miss. coast

Published 1:36 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Mississippi Development Authority says more than 1,000 homeowners whose Gulf Coast homes suffered storm surge damage during Hurricane Katrina have been approved for elevation grants.

Money for the grants is part of a federal Community Development Block Grant approved as part of recovery from the 2005 hurricane that ravaged coastal communities. The program helps homeowners defray costs associated with elevating their homes to meet new federal flood requirements.

The approvals have come in the past five months.

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Jon Mabry, chief operations officer for MDA’s Disaster Recovery Division, said the latest figures show the program is about at the halfway point in determining eligibility for more than 2,000 total applicants.

Lee Youngblood of MDA said it was important the applicants to understand approval is not the end of the process.

“Just like a mortgage closing, the applicant must provide the proper documentation; the elevation certificate, local building permits and certificate of occupancy,” he said.

“However, once approved, the hard part — clearing all the federally mandated environmental impact checks — is over for the applicant, and the timetable for check disbursement now only depends on when they provide the two certificates and building permit,” Youngblood said.