The Monroe County Board of Supervisors voted to apply for a grant, which could provide $250,000 for purchasing homes.
Fred Griffin came before the board to talk about the Home Investment Partnership Program Grant, which provides down payment and closing costs to buy houses. Each participant accepted by the grant would receive $28,750 toward the purchase of a home. The $250,000 would allow the county to serve eight qualified families. Grant participants must be U.S. citizens, must not be convicted felons and must meet income criteria.
Griffin said after working with Lee County, he had been contacted by people from Nettleton not on the Lee County side about the project. With Nettleton involved, he decided he would visit other entities in Monroe County. He also plans to talk with the boards in Aberdeen and Amory, and if all choose to participate, this could mean $1 million coming into the county to help buy existing homes. Persons who qualify must be able to get a loan from a qualified lender for the difference between the grant's input of $28,750 and the cost of the houses they would be purchasing.
"There is no free lunch with the grant," Griffin said. The purchaser has to commit to use that house as a primary residence 10 years or repay the grant, which would be prorated for the time lived there. Basically, the loans obtained to pay the remaining home cost will be for 30 years. The grants are administered through MDA, which figures if someone can afford a shorter loan period, they don't need the grant money.
Griffin said the program had previously been for new constructions, but with the number of foreclosures nationwide, this year's is for existing homes only. In the near future, a public hearing will be held for citizen input on the program.
In other business:
n Board attorney John Creekmore presented a resolution from the board expressing support and appreciation for the 1st Battalion, 98th Cavalry Regiment from Amory for its services to America in Iraq. The unit was recently mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
n In a previous meeting, a request had come from the HOPE Foundation for a contribution from the county. After researching the matter, Creekmore said he could find no authority for the county's making a contribution from its general fund to the organization.