BILOXI (WLOX)--If you are one of the thousands of South Mississippians having trouble finding affordable housing, there's now some help.
Back Bay Mission in Biloxi just launched an aggressive education and public awareness campaign, to find answers and give real solutions to the lack of affordable housing problem.
Dr. Dena Wittmann is the community empowerment director at Back Bay Mission. Her job, is to change the perception that affordable housing brings crime ridden high density boxes that decrease nearby property values. This new initiative aims to educate the public and change misconceptions about what "affordable housing" actually housing is.
Wittmann says, "What makes housing affordable, means that a family does not pay more than 30% of their income for housing." Here's an example, a police officer who makes about $31,000 a year, would have to find an apartment or a home for his family that would cost $784 a month. And if you take a look at HUD's 2008 fair market rental sheet, you'll see that a small, 2 bedroom apartment in this area is $811.
Wittmann says, "so it's very difficult then to find anything even for $811, because most rents for 2 bedrooms, are over $1,000 in this area."
The reason? Katrina not only destroyed much of the affordable housing stock, she also made insurance rates skyrocket, that of course has to be passed on to the tenant.
Wittman points to an announcement just this week that is not good good news. "Today they said is that two insurance companies have also you know, going to be issuing another rate hike."
But don't let that make you lose hope. At no charge, Dr. Wittmann wants to help you find an answer to your housing woes, that's why Back Bay has set up an easy to navigate website, appropriately named, "Warm Welcome Gulf Coast".