Hallelujah Housing: ERD joins affordable housing partnership in Mississippi
Expanding its partnership with the Diocese of Mississippi, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is supporting “Hallelujah Housing,” a program building affordable homes along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and ERD have entered a joint partnership with Enterprise Corporation of the Delta/Hope Community Credit Union and the Unity Homes Project to construct homes for Gulf Coast families who lost their property in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Along the Gulf Coast, 65,000 homes were destroyed by the storm. Presently, 30,000 families are still living in FEMA trailers. Affordable housing will be constructed in the coastal Mississippi counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson.
After the storms, many insurance companies have not made funds available to assist in the rebuilding, particularly for low income families and the working poor who lost homes on the Gulf Coast.
“Episcopal Relief and Development is excited to expand its partnership with the Diocese of Mississippi,” stated Robert W. Radtke, ERD President. “The ’Hallelujah Housing’ program will help Mississippians return to their homes and allow people who have never owned property in the region to become first-time home buyers.”
“This kind of prophetic initiative would not be possible without the generosity of countless Episcopalians on whose behalf we work.”
The “Hallelujah Housing” program aims to build at least 300-400 affordable homes for people who live at 60% to 80% of Average Median Income (AMI). By 2009, the program plans to help at least 100 single mothers buy their own homes. With the assistance of a Grant Administrator, the Diocese of Mississippi will keep track of every home and home owner to assure that each family has access to home owner education and other case management resources. This approach will help keep default rates low.
“It is our desire that the Diocese become a beacon of hope for the thousands of persons who have lost their homes and today find moving ”home again“ almost impossible,” said the Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.
“Many times, people below the poverty-line are forgotten during the recovery process. This is where ’Hallelujah Housing’ will focus its energy,” commented Richard Ohlsen, ERD’s director of Domestic Disaster Preparedness and Response. “It’s great that the diocese has partnered with so many groups to make ’Hallelujah Housing’ a success because working as a team increases what one organization can accomplish.”
To make a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development, visit http://www.er-d.org/ or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.
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