- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - Money to help clean up houses still damaged and unoccupied since Hurricane Katrina is expected to soon come into the Gulf Coast.

The Mississippi Home Corp. is developing a program to provide funds to cities and counties throughout the state to help demolish blighted and abandoned homes, the Sun Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2hvCCvB ).

“The goal of the project is to stabilize property values by removing and greening vacant and blighted properties in an effort to prevent future foreclosures for existing homeowners,” the program stated.

The agency has submitted its plan to the U.S. Treasury Department for approval. If approved next year, Mississippi could receive $20 million, which should translate to $500,000 for Jackson County.

Jeff Barlow, Jackson County’s code enforcement officer, has been scouring the county for properties that are condemned or need to be and has almost 40 listed so far.

“Most of what I have needs to be torn down and hauled off,” Barlow said, “homes in neighborhoods that people have been complaining about for years. … They aren’t safe in a neighborhood, kids break in and play in them.”

He asks residents to report any other homes that should be on the list by calling planning officials at 228-769-3056.

“If you think you have one, call. We’ll assess it. See if it’s on the list,” Barlow said.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com


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