By The Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. —
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon outlined plans Tuesday to allot $122 million in state and federal aid to rebuild homes hit by a devastating tornado in Joplin.
The money could start flowing soon to owners of single-family homes needing to be rebuilt or repaired and could continue on a longer-term basis for the construction of additional homes and apartments, Nixon said while announcing the aid at a news conference in Joplin. Most of the state assistance will have to be approved by the Missouri Housing Development Commission, which provides financial incentives to build housing for low- and moderate-income residents.
The May 22 tornado that struck Joplin killed 159 people and damaged about 8,000 homes. The latest state unemployment report indicates that the Joplin area lost about 9,400 jobs in June, largely as a result of tornado damage to businesses.
“Ensuring that residents, and especially families, have access to adequate, affordable housing is a critical part of that recovery process,” Nixon said in a written statement.
The governor wants $22 million to be made available soon for Joplin housing, with about half of that coming from housing commission programs and the other half from the state Department of Economic Development. The housing commission portion would provide developers with financing assistance for construction and homeowners with aid for down payments and repairs. The state economic development agency would provide money through its Neighborhood Preservation Program and Community Development Block Grants.
Nixon also wants the housing commission to alter its 2012 plans for allocating low-income housing tax credits. He proposed that Joplin housing developments be allotted $50 million in state tax credits, which would be matched by $50 million in federal tax credits, spread over a 10-year period. That could mean that other parts of the state would get less housing aid than originally planned.