New houses help Verona, residents

VERONA – Joan Maxcy is looking forward to having trick-or-treaters come by her home this year more than any year in the past.
Thanks to a Homeowners Assistance grant through the Mississippi Development Authority, Maxcy and seven other Verona families are first-time homeowners.
The $250,000 grant provides people who qualify with $25,000 each to go toward the down payment of a new or existing home.
Mayor Bobby Williams said the new homeowners will help with the growth and overall goal of Verona’s plan to increase homeownership and decrease the overwhelming number of renters who live in the town.
“This is the first time that I can remember seven people becoming new homeowners in Verona at one time,” said Williams. “That is a huge deal for a town our size and for one that has so many people renting. It’s always been a main goal of mine and the board’s to increase home ownership here, so it’s good to see it happening.”
Recipients of the grant money have to agree to live in the house for at least 10 years. To qualify, a family of four could earn no more than $47,729 annually. All the houses have to be built by Dec.1. Maxcy moved into her home last weekend.
“It’s my home and that is a good feeling to have,” said Maxcy. “I don’t know if me owning a home would have been possible without this grant. It has truly been a blessing for me.”
Williams said aside from a boost in community pride, the new housing has also been a boost to the town’s economy. He said new houses mean new water and trash customers for the city. They also provided landscapers, construction workers and other people in the housing business with jobs, Williams said.
“These homes help us all,” he said. “People who own their home tend to take a better stake in the community than renters. We know rental property is needed, but we want everyone to have a chance to be a homeowner in Verona.”
Because the board amended the grant so the seven recipients could receive extra money to go toward their purchases, there are no more funds left in the housing grant. Williams said the board plans to apply for another one in 2010.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal