PEARL – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS), Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) announced today the award of a $250,000 post-disaster grant to Wilkinson County to assist residents with repairing homes damaged by flooding in early August.
Damage assessments, conducted by MEMA and local officials, show three homes were destroyed, 23 with major damage and 58 others with minor damage in Wilkinson County, primarily in the town of Crosby. The damage did not meet the threshold for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Stafford Act.
This assistance is being provided by MEMA to the newly formed non-profit Community Based Recovery Committee (CBRC) in Wilkinson County with remaining funds from the Alternative Housing Pilot Program (AHPP) awarded to Mississippi by FEMA following Hurricane Katrina. The requirement of the original AHPP grant is that the funds must be used for on-going housing needs as a result of the disaster.
“As we have seen in the aftermath of last month’s flooding, federal disaster assistance programs are generally restricted to state boundaries. When storm systems affect multiple states, people are often refused federal aid simply because their home sits across a state line from their neighbors,” said Rep. Harper.
“Many Mississippians, particularly those in the Crosby community, were as badly impacted by the recent flooding as the people of Louisiana—however our state’s total damages were not sufficient enough to trigger federal assistance. As a result, the state of Mississippi has stepped up to respond to this disaster,” continued Harper. “I am pleased that these Mississippians will be able to rebuild their homes and begin the healing process all thanks to Director Smithson and the great team at MEMA.”
Gov. Bryant explained, “Under the direction of Lee Smithson, MEMA has shown its willingness to go the extra mile to help our residents get back on their feet after a disaster. This method ensures that every penny will go toward the repair of homes in Wilkinson County.”
Wilkinson County, through the CBRC, will use 100% of the funds from this grant for affordable home ownership, materials and supplies to repair flood-damaged homes, and rental assistance for low and moderate-income people with on-going housing needs.
“Prior to this initiative, there was never a source of funding to buy building materials for residents who did not qualify for federal assistance,” said MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson. “I am extremely proud of my staff for thinking of a creative solution to help those affected by this disaster.”
The National Weather Service reported more than 15 inches of rain fell in southwest Mississippi during August 11-13, 2016.