Bolivar County Administrator Will Hooker recently asked the board of supervisors to authorize and execute a resolution for the Home Rehabilitation Grant.
"Bolivar County was actually involved in the grant about three years ago. This is the next grant because we just closed out our previous grant this summer. The grant is controlled by the state, we are not even sure even when the state allocates money for the grant until we are notified," said Hooker.
According to Hooker, he tries to ensure members of the board apply for the grant whenever the funds have been allocated by the state.
"Since I took this position I have tried to place a strong priority on getting the grant implemented and closed out in order for the county to be able to apply again during the next funding cycle. It’s really not an annual process, sometimes it takes two or more years before the grant is reopened after it has been closed out," continued Hooker.
"We have an application process going on right now. This is not a county grant it is a state grant,” he added.
During the last grant cycle, the county received around $300,000 to aid in the home rehabilitation process.
Three homeowners from Cleveland, Duncan and Shaw had their homes rebuilt in the first quarter of last year.
"The Home Rehabilitation Grant is outstanding and it is a great program that has the intent to help and eliminate some blighted areas," he continued.
Hooker said receiving the money is a difficult task.
Applicants for the grant come from across Mississippi.
"The deadline to turn in applications is Feb. 3. Applications must be obtained and turned into the county administrator's office. The deadline has been set by the state," he added.
"Applicants must get applications in by or before this day so that members of the board can review them and get the application process going in a timely manner," continued Hooker.
There are strict guidelines for eligibility, including complete ownership of the house, the home must be in dire need of reconstruction and the homeowner must be in a low-income financial bracket.
"One of the major requirements is that you have to own the home and present proof of ownership. There cannot be any leans against the property and the mortgage must be paid in full," Hooker said.
"You also have to show proof that the home has been occupied over a 12 month period – this is usually proved by providing utility bills," he continued.
The grants are available to very low-income rural residents who own and occupy a dwelling in need of repairs.
Funds are available for repairs to improve or modernize a home, or to remove health and safety hazards.
"Your income must also be submitted. You have to provide any and all documents that show proof of income, this includes government assistance," Hooker said.
Grants may be recaptured if the property is sold in less than 3 years.
"The homes of the grant recipients sometimes have to be torn down and replaced due to the age and condition of the home," he added.
According to Hooker, there is now a new requirement for applicants if they have children dwelling with them and wish to include them in the application.
"If a child lives in the home with the home owner then the home owner must provide proof of guardianship and they must be listed on the application," said Hooker.
"There are many people in Bolivar County who might meet the qualifications, but receiving the money is a very selective process. Unfortunately, we can't apply for everyone who qualifies," he added.
For more information about the Home Rehabilitation grant, contact the Hooker at 662-846-5877.