The Clarion-Ledger, 5/9/8

House Democrats on Thursday questioned Gov. Haley Barbour’s use of billions of dollars in Hurricane Katrina recovery grants, saying too little was done to rebuild low-income rental housing and help low-income homeowners.

“Frankly, I’m not convinced that the state has met all of its housing needs,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairwoman of a House Financial Services subcommittee on housing.

Waters said she called Thursday’s hearing partly in response to Barbour’s plans to use $600 million in Housing and Urban Development block grants to repair and enlarge the Port of Gulfport. The money was part of $5.4 billion Mississippi received in block grants.

Waters and other Democrats on the housing panel also questioned why Mississippi didn’t use more of the grant money to break ground on low- and moderate-income housing and to help low-income homeowners whose losses from Katrina weren’t covered by insurance.