BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - New rules are expected to make buying and selling houses in some parts of Biloxi more difficult. On Tuesday, the city council will vote on changing eligibility requirements for a program that eases the financial burden for people buying single family homes. The HOME Investment Partnership Program provides low and moderate income residents with up to $30,000 to help purchase homes.
In the past, Biloxi officials said much of that money has gone to buying houses on the east end of town. However, going forward that may no longer be the case.
The Kuljis family has lived in Point Cadet for decades. They said if they ever decide to leave, selling their home to another family would be nearly impossible.
"I really don't think they would buy it because of the insurance costs," Diane Kuljis said. "The flood and the wind insurance is outrageous."
Biloxi officials said for many years, many homes in the Point Cadet-East Biloxi area were bought with the help of the HOME Investment Partnership program. The program provides qualifying applicants assistance with closing costs and down payment. Biloxi is looking at new rules making houses located in flood zones ineligible.
"Gulfport is the lead agency for the Home Program on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. That means they basically are in charge of it," said Biloxi Administrator David Nichols. "They, in their program, do not allow houses in the flood zone. So we're changing our policy that we've had in the past to reflect their policy because we come under them in this particular program."
Biloxi officials said if the subsidies are no longer available in flood zones, homeowners on the east end of town will definitely feel the impact.
"Most of The Point is in a flood zone, so it basically takes out a large swath of land in the city of Biloxi," said Nichols. "Because we have really utilized this program over the years in the eastern portion of the city. So getting somebody now that's qualified with the insurance requirements because of the wind and the flood and then not being able to get some down payment assistance it will make it more difficult, more challenging for people to sell homes."
Biloxi officials said the no homes in flood zones requirement doesn't impact Gulfport and Harrison County as much because there are fewer of those areas than in Biloxi.