Rental re-hab program leads to affordable housing


The rental rehab program has been up and running since last year.  When the program ends, 260 million dollars will be spent building and rehabbing 4000 units. 

The owner of a home in Gulfport received a 30-thousand dollar grant and spent 85,000 dollars building the 1300 square foot home.  It rents for 820 dollars a month, about 300 dollars less than market value.  And the tenant has no insurance or tax burdens. 

Property owner Myron LaBat likes the program.  “In my opinion, this is a win-win situation for both the tenants as it’s served to reduce rental rates as they had skyrocketed after Hurricane Katrina.” LaBat said.  “It’s made housing affordable and it also doesn’t cripple the investor.”

Under the program, all appliances are furnished, including a washer and dryer, saving tenants a lot of up-front money.  Inside, most of the amenities of a modern day home are included. 

The director of Gulf Coast housing, Gerald Blessey, says it’s a real success story.  ‘This one really covers a number of our goals in restoring neighborhoods like this one with these infill projects and also in reaching low income and moderate income residents that are in great need.” 

And LaBat says it’s a relatively simple program for both owner and tenant.  “Not a lot of red tape but there are some guidelines of course with any program that have to be met in order to make it worthwhile, but definitely worth the time.”

And program officials say homes like these are the future of post-Katrina housing on the coast.

By Doug Walker

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