City, county get grants for housing

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 24, 1999

Natchez residents who never thought they’d be able to afford a new house may have a chance thanks to $500,000 in grant money to the city and county. The grants from the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development will help set up a revolving loan program to build 34 houses in Natchez.

The program provides low-interest home loans to credit-worthy families. The fund was created by the state Legislature with $5 million appropriated statewide.

This year’s funds will help families buy 329 new housing units.

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The housing revolving loan program is designed to assist local governments in their efforts to provide housing to low and moderate income Mississippians.

Organizations will use the grant money in combination with other funds to build single-family houses and make low-interest loans to buyers.

Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown said the grants are needed in Natchez.

&uot;It’s a great Christmas present,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s a greater present for those who don’t have the means now to buy a house for the first time.&uot;

The houses will be scattered throughout the city.

The city and county each received $250,000 for the program. James Johnston, the city’s community development coordinator, wrote both grant applications. &uot;He’s done another good job,&uot; Brown said.

&uot;This program will help hundreds of Mississippians realize their dream of home ownership,&uot; said Jimmy Heidel, executive director of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Qualifying homeowners cannot exceed 115 percent of the median income of Adams County. Johnston has calculated that income cap to be $36,500.

The houses will be thee-bedroom, two-bath houses of brick veneer with just under 1,300 square feet of interior living space. Lot sizes are expected to be roughly 80 feet by 120 feet. The price on the houses is expected to be around $70,000.