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Tracking Progress: Joplin Homebuyers Assistance Program
By Jennifer Penate
JOPLIN, MO.--- On May 22nd 2011, an EF-5 tornado displaced 9,200 Joplin residents, after leaving 3,400 housing units in pieces. More than half were owner-occupied homes. Some of the residents who lost their property have relocated within Joplin or rebuilt. The need for single-family homes is still high. So, the city proposed building 1,882 houses in the tornado zone.
"Where we assist with closing costs and down payment assistance for anybody purchasing or building a home in the tornado zone," said Patty Heagel, Joplin Grant Coordinator.
The Joplin Homebuyers Assistance Program, or J-HAP, is funded trough the $45 million community development block grant the city received in 2012. A proposed budget drafted that year earmarked $13 million to assist the effort.
"That's available to people up to 120% of median income, and it is available in the amounts of up to $30,000," said Heagel.
For example, a one person household cannot have an income exceeding $42,500 and a family of four $67,400.
"It's been very beneficial in helping people move back into the tornado area, people have moved from outside Joplin, and repopulated the area," she said.
J-HAP launched in August of 2013. To this date, a total of $3 million has been awarded.
"It's huge, it's absolutely huge," she said.
342 J-HAP application have been filed and 113 closings completed. $9 million of the CDBG grant was budgeted for mixed-income multi family residential homes.