HUD Announces More Than A Billion Dollars In Storm Relief - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

HUD Announces More Than A Billion Dollars In Storm Relief

"This was one of the nicest streets in Long Beach. And it will come back and be landscaped and be a nice place," said Terry Burgess, as he surveyed his storm damaged neighborhood.

Burgess is doing his part to rebuild Russell Avenue. His new home is a 2,000 square foot structure designed by the same team that created the "Katrina Cottage."

But although his home plans came courtesy of the Governor's charette process, he wasn't so lucky applying for a home owner grant.

"Looks like to me that they would have gotten all the money to us first, and then gone to the second round. But, maybe they'll save that money for us," said Burgess.

He's referring to phase two of the Katrina home owner grant program. The second phase that's been talked about, is now official.

"I am pleased to announce the approval of phase two of the Mississippi home owner assistance program, and the release of 700 million dollars in community development block grant funds to be distributed to the people of South Mississippi," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who made the announcement during a press conference outside Gulfport City Hall Wednesday.

That should translate into even more home building in storm struck neighborhoods. The formal announcement was a mutual pat-on-the-back gathering of federal, state and local leaders.

Perhaps no one received more praise than the powerful chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, who happens to represent Mississippi.

"That will enable us to rebuild and go forward with a stronger economy and a commitment to the well being of this great part of our state," said Senator Thad Cochran.

Governor Haley Barbour said lessons were learned during phase one of the grant program, and that should make for a somewhat smoother administrative process in issuing the grant checks to those who qualify.

"If you made an application for phase one, you do not have to make an application for phase two. If you didn't qualify for phase one, you've already been sent over," said the governor.

Which means there's still hope for Terry Burgess, who would welcome the extra assistance, as he and others do all they can to rebuild and recover.

"There's a lot of people that have got determination. They're going to build back. It's going to happen," said a confident Burgess.

Click here to learn more about this second phase of the Katrina Homeowner Grant Program, or call 1-866-369-6302.

By Steve Phillips

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