Partnership Takes Affordable Housing North

The Biloxi Housing Authority wants to expand affordable housing to the north. At a news conference on Monday, Housing officials announced plans to build 1,500 new homes and apartments with the majority likely going up in Woolmarket.

The Biloxi Housing Authority is working to secure the land it needs. It's already secured a lot of funding. Fannie Mae has awarded the Housing authority a $325,000 grant along with an $18 million line of credit. Enterprise, a non-profit agency, has donated $50,000 in grant money and a $500,000 line of credit. Together they will help the Housing Authority redefine affordable housing in Biloxi.

By January, work crews should be gone and families once again living in the Elkwood Apartments on Benachi Street in Biloxi.  A new partnership seeks to help fix the affordable housing crunch by not only repairing damaged homes but also building new developments.

Ken Bacon of Fannie Mae said, "We try to provide housing for middle class families, working families, everybody. So we feel it's very important as we try to help Mississippi rebuild its housing that we help those at the top of the ladder as well as those at the bottom of the ladder."

The Biloxi Housing Authority will use millions of dollars in grants and credit to build the new development which will have a similar look and feel to the Hope Six project in East Biloxi.

"Most of our developments are going to be mixed use developments where we have some rental, some home ownership, some family, some elderly," said Biloxi Housing Authority Executive Director Bobby Hensley. "We're very concerned about elderly affordable housing here so we'll definitely be putting a great deal of time and money into elderly housing."

Hensley says tax credits and other funding will actually build the new homes. Most of the money from Fannie Mae and Enterprise will be used to buy land.

"We're looking in Woolmarket because land prices are better there, but that does not mean we're abandoning the peninsula area," said Hensley. "We are going to do what we can there. We are pursuing properties, but there are no large tracks of land on the peninsula. So to develop a nice size community, we're going to have to go up North."