Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Friday, September 15

MDA Reopens Service Centers

The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is making a number of changes in its Katrina Homeowner Grant program designed to provide applicants with more information about their grant status and facilitate their grant closing, including reopening the service centers.

"We are reopening the service centers to allow applicants to come in and get copies of their damage assessments," said Scott Hamilton, MDA director of communications. "We will also have representatives on hand to review the assessments with applicants and additional representatives available to assist with initiating the appeal process if applicants feel their assessment is flawed."

The deadline to make appeals has been extended from 30 to 60 days after receiving a grant notification package. In addition, the minimum appeal has been reduced from $10,000 to $500 to provide applicants the ability to bring more modest discrepancies to MDA's attention. As before, applicants may go through the closing process, receive the initial grant and make an appeal if they choose.

On September 13, MDA's centers at the Prime Outlet Mall in Gulfport and Singing River Mall in Gautier begin providing walk-in assistance to grant applicants. The center's hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Services include: filing appeals and explaining appeal rights; assistance related to damage assessments (staffed by MDA's damage assessment contractor); assistance for those that are denied a grant; assistance and questions on the closing process; assistance and questions on subordinations; assistance and questions dealing with mortgage companies; and, assistance and questions concerning the grant covenants and title issues0

For applicants that would rather get assistance by phone, calls should be directed to the MDA Call Center toll-free at 1-866-369-6302 rather than the Helpdesk line. The call center personnel are being trained for these questions with technical backup being provided by the agency's program contractor.

Information is also available online at, or



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