Small Rental Assistance Program "Round 2" Deadline Approaching

BILOXI (WLOX) - There's an exciting opportunity for small, local investors... that will also help solve the affordable housing crisis here on the Coast.

The federal government has given MDA, 5.4 billion dollars for Katrina recovery.

Of that, 3.8 billion is to solve housing needs.

There's 262 million set aside for the Small Rental Assistance Program.

Round 2 is going on right now.

Rebecca Powers spoke to a very excited applicant who's participating in this one of a kind program.

Jeanette Ladner is a "SRAP" Applicant, she says, "This program is very, very innovative on what you can do it's given us a great opportunity."

Jeanette Ladner and her husband just started building a 4-plex on 45th Avenue in Gulfport.

They'll invest about 180-thousand and get back an astonishing 132-thousand through MDA's Small Rental Assistance Program or "SRAP".

"We had never thought about investing this way or having rental properties, but this has really enabled us to do things that we didn't think we could do."

Lee Youngblood of the State's Disaster Recovery Division says, "You can go up to 40,000 dollars per unit, so and that's a forgivable loan which means as long as you rent to low and moderate income folks for 5 years, then that's money you don't have to pay back, that's a grant essentially."

They'll also pay you to convert existing homes into affordable housing units under the current "Round 2" of SRAP, which the directors say is going MUCH better than Round 1.

Erick Gamble is Director of "SRAP" Round. He says, "Unfortunately with round 1 they were too busy with personal residences, now they have a little more time and they're helping rebuild and reduce urban blight by repairing and getting people a place to move back to."

Youngblood, "we will leave the coast when all these programs are done with more than 20-thousand affordable low and moderate income housing units and that's more actually than what was there prior to Hurricane Katrina."