Booneville residents await construction of new homes

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – Three Booneville families will be moving into new homes later this year, constructed with grants from the Mississippi Development Authority’s Home Investment Partnerships Grant Program.
Homes owned by Beulah Gater of North College Street, Oliver Spencer of Cedar Street and Joyce Friar of Jacinto Road are being demolished and rebuilt through the program, said Booneville Mayor Joe Eaton.
Each family met stringent criteria set by MDA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to receive the support.
“We learned about the program and worked for months to find people who would qualify,” Eaton said. “The houses had to be owned free and clear and need foundation, roof, electrical and plumbing repairs. A lot of applicants met some criteria but not all.”
The grant process is extremely competitive, said Darlene Grimes of the Northeast Mississippi Planning and Development District, who worked with the families to submit applications.
Approximately 80 families throughout the state submitted applications, including eight from the Northeast Mississippi region, and about 15 are funded statewide. It is unusual for three homeowners in one city to qualify, she said.
“The last one we had was a family in Marshall County about four or five years ago,” Grimes said.
Gater’s home has already been torn down and the property is ready for rebuilding to begin. One contractor was awarded construction of two of the houses and a second contractor will build the third house.
“We’ve had the pre-construction meetings and are at the point of construction,” Eaton said.
The program allows municipalities or counties to assist homeowners correct defects in plumbing, roofing, heating, insulation or other renovations, to improve energy efficiency and raise the quality of housing for low-income residents.
Home sizes are based on family size, and Gater will receive a four-bedroom home while Spencer and Friar’s homes will each be two bedrooms. Each home will be valued at about $100,000, Eaton said.

Click video to hear audio