Grant programs could assist elderly, disabled and first-time homebuyers

Published 5:51 pm Monday, April 30, 2018

Elderly and disabled homeowners and first-time homebuyers will be the beneficiaries of two grant programs being sought by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The board April 25 approved a resolution authorizing the city to apply for 2018 Affordable Housing grants funded through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, Texas.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Gertrude Young, city housing director, said the grants will provide $100,000 for the city’s first-time homebuyers program and $150,000 to rehabilitate 13 existing homes owned by elderly or disabled people. The city does not have to provide matching funds.

Young said city officials should know by June if the city will get the grants. She said area banks — Trustmark Bank, BancorpSouth, River Hills Bank, Guaranty Bank and Home Bank, which are all members of the Home Loan Bank of Dallas, will participate in the program.

The money for first-time homebuyers will provide 10 perspective new homeowners $10,000 each to serve as down payment on a new home.

The $150,000 will provide about $11,538 each to rehabilitate a total of 13 homes in Vicksburg and Warren County.

“To qualify for the rehab money, people must be 55 or older or have someone in the household who is disabled, and own the home,” Young said. “This is owner-occupied homes; no rentals. They must also be low-income.”

She said the city has participated in the rehabilitation grant program in the past, adding the city is presently rehabilitating 25 low-income homes under a grant approved in 2017.

She said this new grant program will be different.

“The new grant will also help people in the county,” Young said. “We started getting calls from so many people in the county that need assistance, and the county doesn’t have program. We went before the (Warren County) Board of Supervisors and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to get approval so we can assist some of the elderly in the county.”

Under the rehab program, officials go out and assess the house and put the person on the program’s waiting list. “It’s long list try and do what we can,” Young said. “We have about 100 people on the waiting list; people call every day.”

After the homeowner is placed on the list, a home inspector examines the house to see what is required to bring the building up to code. A contractor then goes to look at home to see what can be done with the money available for the home.

“We’ve done more than 100 homes in the past two years,” Young said. “We averaged about 15 to 25 homes per grant. We’ve been pretty successful.”

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.

email author More by John