Agency Helps Families build "Safe Rooms" After Sever Storm Damage

People with property damaged by recent severe storms can apply for money to create storm shelters in their homes.

The state and federal governments will be spending almost four million dollars to make Mississippi homes and buildings safer. The "safe room" program will help families whose homes were damaged in storms like those that hit the state last month.

Home and business owners will be able to rebuild faster and make structures safer. A safe room is a reinforced area built in a new or existing structure to protect people during storms.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency received nearly $4 million in federal funds to assist families and businesses, but it's up to the individuals to match that money by 25%. That's where the Mississippi Development Authority steps in. Low-income families who can't pay their 25% share for storm-safety home improvements can apply to the Mississippi development Authority. "There are some people who cannot afford that match so we will be able to work with MDA and will be able to take applications for that money to use as a 25% match for the federal dollars to build a safe room," Robert Latham with the MS Emergency Management Agency told WLOX-TV.

The Development Authority will provide up to 150-thousand dollars for the Safe Room program.

If you would like assistance, contact your local emergency management director by May 15, 2000. You can also visit the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency web site for more information.