University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies

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State Home Corporation Named First IDS Housing Initiative Partner of Year

The Mississippi Housing Corporation recently received the inaugural Housing Initiative Partner of the Year award presented by The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies (IDS).

The Mississippi Housing Corporation received the 2010 Housing Initiative Partner of the Year Award presented by the Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi. Pictured from left to right: Dr. Royal Walker Jr., IDS executive director; Ruthie Bilal, MHC assistant vice president, Single Family Program Operations; Cassie Hicks, IDS coordinator of housing initiatives and Ben Mokry, MHC executive vice president, Research and Development. (Submitted photo)

The award will be presented annually to an agency participating on the IDS Housing Advisory Council that has worked in the housing, disability or economic development arenas in Mississippi to empower people with disabilities to live independently in their communities.

“The Mississippi Home Corporation was instrumental in the development of the Home of Your Own program in Mississippi,” said IDS executive director Dr. Royal Walker, who presented the award, a signed watercolor print. “MHC has been tremendously supportive through the years and has helped us reach our current total of assisting 416 individuals with disabilities and their families living in 56 counties during the 14 successful years of the program. This all started as a dream of what could be done.”

The Mississippi Housing Corporation has been an active member of the IDS Housing Advisory Council since its formation in 2004. The corporation was created by the state in 1989 to serve as Mississippi’s housing finance agency and administers the Mortgage Revenue Bond program and the Housing Tax Credit program.

“The Mississippi Home Corporation has been like a silent partner in its partnership role with IDS,” said Cassie Hicks, IDS coordinator of housing. “Their support has come in many forms: as a member of the council; assisting with grant packages; providing funding and promoting housing fair and homebuyer education seminars to name just a few. MHC has indeed been the ultimate partner and so worthy of this recognition.”

Nominations for Partner of the Year are received from April 1 through June 30. For more information about the award process, visitwww.usm.edu/ids/housingpartners. For more information about the Institute for Disability Studies, visit www.usm.edu/ids

Free Homebuyers Workshop Scheduled for September 25 in Hattiesburg

Mississippi Home of Your Own (HOYO) will sponsor a free, one-day homebuyer education workshop on Saturday, Sept. 25 for residents with and without disabilities in Forrest, Lamar and surrounding counties.

The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the main office of BancorpSouth at 100 Hardy Street in Hattiesburg. BancorpSouth will provide refreshments and lunch for workshop participants.

In its 13th year of service to Mississippians with disabilities and their families, HOYO is an award-winning program of The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies. HOYO was created to empower people with disabilities to reach their individual dreams of owning and maintaining their own homes. Since 1997, HOYO has assisted more than 384 people with disabilities and their families in 50 Mississippi counties in becoming homeowners.

Grant funds of up to $15,000 are currently available to eligible borrowers with disabilities in designated areas through HOYO. More information on these grants will be available at the workshop.

HOYO focuses on creating a support system that identifies potential homebuyers, analyzes their housing needs and financial capacity and prepares them for homeownership. Applicants of the HOYO program must attend homebuyer education seminars to be considered for financial assistance in purchasing a home.

For more information or to pre-register for the seminar, call 601.545.6280 or 601.266.4097.