Regional housing summit planned for Vicksburg

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 26, 2015

Up to 400 people from Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District are expected to be in Vicksburg late September for a summit on affordable housing sponsored by the city and other area organizations.

Community Development Director Victor Grey-Lewis, one of the event’s co-chairs, said the Mississippi Housing Summit will run from Sept. 21 to 22 and bring together elected officials and companies involved in the housing industry for a two-day seminar to discuss developing affordable housing.

“It’s going to be one of the first of its kind in the state,” Grey-Lewis said, adding Rep. Bennie Thompson and a representative from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be among the featured speakers at the event.

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The summit was suggested by Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who said the idea came after a discussion with Rep. Bennie Thompson, “and at the same time looking at the need for housing in Vicksburg.

If you look at the number of homes we’re demolishing, we’ve got to have a plan to replace these houses if you’re going to be growing the population for the the future.”

Besides the city, Warren County Habitat for Humanity, Mountain of Faith Ministry, Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association, VCC and the Vicksburg Housing Authority are sponsoring the program.

“This is not an event where someone who wants to buy a house will come,” Grey-Lewis said. “This is something where we’re looking at the government level and the lending level, to where people take ideas with them back to their communities to develop affordable housing. There will be a lot information being shared by lots of different people.

“We’re going to be exploring the future of housing together,” he said. “As we know, housing is a basic need. People need shelter, and we’re all aware of the importance of housing and how housing is changing. This is talking about how to look at different housing techniques, different ways to finance and housing trends.”

“We are not only targeting housing people,” Warren County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Abraham Green said, “but people in Habitat, housing authorities, anyone involved in affordable housing to make them aware of the different grants and services available that they may not be aware of.”

Besides the speakers and breakout sessions on housing issues, the summit will also feature examples of manufactured and modular housing, and conventional frame homes. An example of a tiny, or small home that can be built on small lots using limited space, will also be on display.

Grey-Lewis said the city has sent letters seeking sponsors and vendors for the summit, and invitations have been sent to all elected officials in the 2nd Congressional District. “We are also looking at extending the invitation to Louisiana to officials across the (Mississippi) River,” he said.


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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