To help find solutions to the affordable housing shortage and recruit new landlords, the HUD Mississippi team held a "Let's Talk About Housing" roundtable in Greenville.
Invitations were sent to businesses that may have been unaware of the rental assistance Housing Choice Voucher program but who could provide affordable housing. The event was moderated by Mississippi Field office Director Adrenace Williams and the audience included real estate brokers, elected and local government officials, existing landlords, public housing authority staff, housing developers, congressional staff, financial institution representatives, and other interested stakeholders.
HUD's Derrick Hampton informed the group about FHA Multifamily Housing Insurance programs that can be used to construct or rehab apartment complexes. Public Housing Portfolio Management Specialists Nzinga Wallace and Anthony McIntyre discussed the need for more landlord participation to maintain the rental assistance funds in the community.
HUD partners explained USDA-Rural Development Housing Programs, Mississippi Home Corporation's Housing Development Programs, and Mississippi Department of Transportation's programs that support housing development. Representatives of the Voice of Calvary Ministries and the Greater Greenville Housing and Revitalization Association (GGHRA) discussed their respective housing development successes.
Jeffrey Gooden, President of United Management and Development, a second-generation provider of affordable housing in the Mississippi Delta, gave a heartfelt presentation on the importance of families having decent and safe housing. He shared his experience living in HUD subsidized housing for the first years of his life, and he talked about the sense of community among the residents. He rejected the negative implications that can be associated with subsidized housing and encouraged the housing providers to participate in affordable housing programs.
At the conclusion of the session, participants toured GGHRA's Reserves of Gray Park, an affordable housing complex that features the latest technology in energy efficient living and fosters a healthy and active lifestyle for residents. Prior to the roundtable, Ashely Lowe, HUD's Fair Housing Programs and Compliance Director for Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina, provided a session on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for the attendees.