Mayor Frank Melton told reporters today to look forward to about $11 million in federal funds coming to the city for the purchase and repair of foreclosed homes to put back on the market.
Leo Stevens, manager of the Department of Economic Development and Planning's Development Assistance Division told the Jackson Free Press that the $11 million is part of a bigger pile of federal money slated for the state, which the state has instead allocated to the capital city.
"We had already gotten a direct allocation of $3.116 million of neighborhood stabilization program funds, while the state of Mississippi is receiving $43 million," Stevens said. "However, (the state is) targeting $11 million of its money to go within the city of Jackson."
City Administrator Rick Hill said the state is steering the federal government's HUD money through the Mississippi Development Authority, with the apparent blessing of Gov. Haley Barbour.
Stevens said the city would aim the money at specific properties: "We'll be targeting vacant properties that have been foreclosed upon for at least 90 days, and we'll be partnering with non-profit housing providers," he said. "I believe that's the intent of the state as well."
After receiving the total $14 million, the city will send out bid proposal requests to local non-profit organizations with experience in refurbishing houses and finding new owners. Habitat for Humanity could be one of the organizations eligible for the funding.
Habitat for Humanity spokesperson Jennifer Griffin said the organization had yet to participate in the process, as the city had not completed the request-for-bids process. Griffin added, however, that the organization was "very excited" about the prospect.
Stevens said the city became aware of the funds in November, and drew up a HUD application by the December deadline.