On April 4, two announcements were made at two different locations expressing one goal: the importance of increasing homeownership in the city of Jackson.
“What we have discovered here is that our percentage of homeownership is below the national average and the state average. Homeownership accomplishes a number of things; it helps to stabilize neighborhoods and it helps brings economic empowerment to those people who are homeowners,” said Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr., who attended both press conferences. “That’s the reason why, when I was first elected, I established the office of Housing and Community Development. This office has allowed us to give grants to non-profit organizations to provide affordable housing, with an emphasis on homeownership. This is just one of the many examples of programs that have been developed under my administration to provide easy access to housing assistance for first time homebuyers.”
The first announcement kicked-off the Employer Assistance Housing Program (EAH) for Jackson Medical Mall District (JMED) participating institutions, Jackson Medical Mall Foundation and Jackson State University.
“The Employer Assisted Housing program provides a wonderful opportunity to employees of JMED member institutions as well to those of other participating partners (Jackson Medical Mall Foundation and JSU) to obtain homeownership for the first time,” said Larry Christian, director of JMED. “At the same time, it helps to increase homeownership as a whole throughout the city and enhances the existing housing stock. This creates a win-win situation for everyone ? the employer, the employee and the city.”
Funding for this program is provided by the city of Jackson’s Office of Housing and Community Development. Fannie Mae, a federal housing agency, has provided key technical assistance and assisted with the program development for the project.
The primary mission of the program was to identify the development and redevelopment potential of the district and define a physical and organizational framework to accommodate opportunities for growth and change.
During the second press conference, which took place on the campus of JSU, representatives from JSU, Freddie Mac and Trustmark National Bank announced the creation of an innovative Workforce Home Benefit initiative, the first to be launched at an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in the country.
According to JSU officials, the Workforce Home Benefit initiative will offer the university’s faculty and staff members a variety of important home buying resources, including special loan products with flexible features, financial literacy/homebuyer education and new or renovated homes built near worksites.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who attended the second press conference, said he was delighted to see a variety of organizations working together to “expand homeownership opportunities in Jackson.
“Through this unique public/private partnership, JSU employees will have greater access to home buying resources, and help revitalize the surrounding west Jackson neighborhood,” said Thompson. “The program is an absolute win for Jackson State University, its employees and the community in which we live.”
Johnson said he was excited that the city of Jackson was to be a part of the initiative.
“This program, combined with the city’s ongoing efforts to revitalize and increase the housing stock, particularly in west Jackson, will go a long way in boosting homeownership in Jackson,” said Mayor Johnson.
Harvey Johnson Campaign