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Supervisors eye help for first-time home buyers

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Feb. 2, 2001
Lauderdale County supervisors may tap into a state program that assists first-time home buyers with grants up to $10,000.
The money could be used for closing costs or other costs associated with the purchase of a first home under a grants program administered through the Mississippi Development Authority.
Funded by the HOME Home-buyer Assistance Program under MDA's Division of Community Services, the package could total up to $250,000 helping up to 25 singles, couples or families purchase their first homes.
Mississippi officials have allocated about $39 million in Community Development Block Grants and $12 million in the HOME program for this and other types of community assistance statewide.
Supervisors approved Board President Jimmie Smith's request to advertise a public hearing on the matter. A hearing was scheduled for Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the supervisors' board room of the courthouse annex.
He said people who receive money must purchase an existing home they can't build a new one because there is a surplus of available homes in Lauderdale County. They must agree to live in the home for a particular amount of time. If they sell it before that time, they must repay the funds. There are also restrictions on using the property as rental property.
The East Central Planning and Development District is administering the program.
After the hearing, the grant application must be rated and compared to other cities' and counties' applications. Smith said supervisors should know whether they will receive the grant in "a relatively short period of time. It could be as early as a few months or as late as six months."
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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