Mississippi USDA Rural Housing Named 2015 Housing Initiative Partner of the Year by Institute for Disability Studies

Mississippi USDA Rural Housing Named 2015 Housing Initiative Partner of the Year by Institute for Disability Studies

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

Mississippi's USDA Rural Housing office has received the 2015 Housing Initiative Partner of the Year Award presented by The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies (IDS). The state's USDA Rural Housing field offices have participated as lenders with IDS' Home of Your Own (HOYO) program since 2012, providing over $21 million in funding to HOYO homeowners to obtain homeownership.

"USDA Rural Housing in Mississippi has been an excellent partner for the HOYO program. Their assistance has allowed more Mississippians with disabilities to realize the dream of becoming homeowners in their communities," said Dr. Beth Bryant-Claxton, executive director of IDS.

"Loan programs, like the USDA Direct Loan program, have allowed HOYO homebuyers to have decent, safe and affordable housing across the state of Mississippi," said Cassie Hicks, assistant director of housing. "When the house payment is affordable, it allows the buyers to be able to make their payments, maintain their home and avoid being a foreclosure statistic."

Since 1997, the HOYO program has assisted more than 600 people with disabilities and their families in 65 of the state's counties become homeowners.

The IDS Housing Partner of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual or an agency participating on the IDS Housing Advisory Council who has worked in the housing, disability or economic development arenas in the state to empower people with disabilities to live independently in their communities. Nominations are received from April 1 through June 30 of each year.

For more information about the Institute for Disability Studies at Southern Miss and its housing programs visit www.usm.edu/disability-studies.