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Mississippians Struggle To Find Affordable Housing While Federal Support Declines

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 06 Feb 2012 10:38pm | comments
Takisha Lyles.

Tens of thousands of Mississippians are relying of housing assistance to pay their rent or mortgage....but many say it is still too hard to get help finding a home. M-P-B's Jeffrey Hess reports a decrease in federal money for housing assistance could cause the state legislature to act.

"I just think about how much I am paying in rent a month for something I will never own. When I could be paying that in a mortgage for something that one day will be mine,"

Takisha Lyles is a single mom living in Jackson who is juggling a full time job, college, and a two year old son.

She says she has tried to get housing assistance but has not received any...She believes that help could mean she could buy a home.

"I definitely think so. I have no problems with working and I would meet whatever requirements they felt like we needed to. I have talked to a HUD representative before and he kind of explained the program to me. And I have no problems with that," Lyles said.

It is not just healthy, working Mississippians struggling to find homes.

The Department of Justice recently concluded an investigation in Mississippi and determined that the state is over institutionalizing people with mental disabilities.

Trisha Hinson works with the Department of Mental Health's housing division which was created this year, and is attempting to help the state create more home and community based care.

"The individuals coming out of our department of mental health facilities, if they don't have a home to go home to they are immediately homeless. So, again, that is another reason we are concerned about this and begin to work while they are in a facility to identify appropriate housing," Hinson said.

housing assistance funding to the state fell by about 7-million dollars for this fiscal year compared to 2011.

Senate Housing Chairman Hillman Fraiser of Jackson has written a bill to create housing trust fund to help people get affordable homes.

"In our housing trust fund, we are trying to find a designated funding source to assist in terms of making housing more available in the state. Down payment assistance and the like," Fraiser said.

Fraiser is also working on a bill similar to one recommended by President Barack Obama that would help buyers who are on time with their loan, but underwater on their mortgage, refinance with the their lender.

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Takisha Lyles.


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