Cochran, Wicker Announce Extension Of Public Housing Funds For South Mississippi

July 15, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a bill containing language that would preserve up to $35.8 million in emergency funding for Mississippi’s public housing authorities, Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker announced today.  The language, which would primarily benefit authorities impacted by Hurricane Katrina was included in the Fiscal Year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill, which will now be submitted to the full Senate for consideration.

Hampered by insurance rates, material costs, environmental concerns, and flood map adjustments, south Mississippi housing authorities and developers have been unable to utilize emergency funds appropriated by Congress following Hurricane Katrina.  This language would ensure that unused  federal funds set to expire will be preserved for future construction.

“The unprecedented level of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina continues to cause delays in many types of rebuilding efforts along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast,” Senator Cochran said.  “Our public housing authorities remain particularly burdened by increased construction costs and bureaucratic challenges.  I am pleased the Appropriations Committee has included language that would preserve federal funding into the future so that construction can continue, and I am hopeful that the full Senate will consider this bill as soon as possible.”

Sen. Wicker added: “Ensuring access to quality, affordable housing remains a top priority as South Mississippi continues rebuilding from Katrina.  This legislation recognizes the challenges facing the rebuilding efforts and will help ensure the housing authorities along the Gulf Coast will be able to use the funds they were provided.  I am glad the committee has advanced this important legislation and hope it is brought before the full Senate quickly.”