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USDA Rural Development Homeownership Project Helps Tornado Victims in Mississippi

Mississippi’s Rural Development State Director Trina N. George and USDA officials, along with municipal and community leaders took a day last week to help rebuild a home that was severely damaged by a recent tornado that swept through Yazoo City, as part of the agency’s recognition of June as National Homeownership Month.

The event also highlighted the Self-Help Housing Program. The program enables persons and families to obtain a home by helping to build it themselves. The “sweat equity” is factored in as part of the cost of the home.

“Yazoo City is the site of one of our state’s most successful Self-Help Housing programs,” noted Mississippi’s Single Family Housing Program Director John Jones. “In fact, I would hold this operation up as an example of how effective Self-Help Housing can be and how much it can empower people to help themselves.”

The event, held on June 14th in the White Oaks Estates neighborhood of Yazoo City, featured two teams, with each team starting at one end of the house and working to the center, in a light-hearted competition. “The ‘winning’ team won bragging rights,” said State Director George, “but both teams won the knowledge that they helped a family that was devastated by this tornado.”

More information about the damage done by the tornado was shared on an earlier blog entry: http://www.usda.gov/blog/usda/entry/h2_usda_swings_into_action.

State Director George was one of the first public officials on the scene on the day that the tornado hit. The tornado did significant damage to a number of self-help homes in one neighborhood, including destroying two that had been completed the week before the tornado.

“It was uplifting to know that State Director George and over fifteen of her staff members were in Yazoo City on this hot day, painting and repairing this house for one of the families that lost so much in the tornado,” said MacArthur Straughter, the mayor of Yazoo City. “In addition to helping this one family, the heart and character shown by these public servants helped all involved find a little more strength to continue to recover and rebuild.”

“In April, my team and I saw firsthand the damage done by the tornado, but now we are seeing firsthand the resilience of those affected in Yazoo and other counties,” added State Director George. “It is great to be able to lend a helping hand. This is truly an appropriate way to mark National Homeownership Month.”  To find out more about USDA’s Direct Home Loan Program click here.

State Director Trina George works hard at painting the home of a tornado victim in Yazoo City, Mississippi. George and her staff worked in Yazoo City as part of a National Homeownership Month event.
State Director Trina George works hard at painting the home of a tornado victim in Yazoo City, Mississippi. George and her staff worked in Yazoo City as part of a National Homeownership Month event.

USDA Rural Development Area Director Thelma Glasco was part of a crew of workers that came to Yazoo City, Mississippi to help repair and repainted a home damaged by a recent tornado.
USDA Rural Development Area Director Thelma Glasco was part of a crew of workers that came to Yazoo City, Mississippi to help repair and repainted a home damaged by a recent tornado.

Mississippi Rural Development State Director Trina George (second from right) and a crew of USDA Rural Development employees pose in front of an almost completed wall. The crew was part of a team of painters helping to repair and repaint a Yazoo City home damaged by the recent tornado.
Mississippi Rural Development State Director Trina George (second from right) and a crew of USDA Rural Development employees pose in front of an almost completed wall. The crew was part of a team of painters helping to repair and repaint a Yazoo City home damaged by the recent tornado.

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