How two new housing programs are doing

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For the Lawrence family, the opportunity to own a home came through 'My Home My Coast,' a program through the Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation.

"All I wanted was a chance. It's given me a chance to own my own home, and it's a dream come true," says David Lawrence of Saucier.

As of today, it's a dream that's come true for at least two families, according to Kim LaRosa, the CEO of the Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation. The program offers as much as $25,000 in down payment and closing costs. But, with more than 3,000 applicants, LaRosa says they've had to slow things down a bit.

"We've had to shut down the new application process at this time," says LaRosa.

She says they don't want to create any false expectations for eager homeowners. First, she says, they must get a better idea of how much money will be coming in to eventually loan out.

"As soon as we can predict how many 'My Home' loans we can close each month, we'll be able to predict our cash flow and see how many additional mortgages we'll be able to fund from the payments coming in," says LaRosa. "It's happening it's just not a quick process."

Across town at the International Relief and Disaster Center or IRD in Gulfport, the phones have been ringing off the hook for the 'Coming Home Collaborative.' The Gulf Coast Community Foundation oversees the housing program which has been in operation for about a month.

It's a 15 million dollar program through the Mississippi Development Authority with the goal of repairing or refurbishing 175 hurricane damaged homes in the three coastal counties.

"We've had a tremendous response. We've received more than 2,000 applications for the Coming Home Collaborative," says Rich Westfall, president of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

From the 2,000 applications, nearly 800 have gone on to the second and final phase of the application process which closed last Friday. Although that process has closed, program coordinators still need people to come in and fill out preliminary applications.

"The more statistics we have that there is still a need out there, it gives us more leverage to go to MDA and ask for funding to continue our program," says Jay Huffstatler with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

The message is a similar one from the people at My Home My Coast.

"There are all type of things that get people off the waiting list. Do not get discouraged. I encourage everyone to call in and at least get your name on the list," says LaRosa.

She says start taking a look at your credit and pay off your bills, so you'll be able to move through the process more quickly when things open up.

Click here for more information on My Home My Coast and the Coming Home Collaborative.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.