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Mississippi could face long-term housing troubles

Study: State should take action now or affordable housing woes will grow worse

Mississippi could face a long-term shortage of affordable housing in the wake of rebuilding efforts from last year's Gulf Coast hurricanes if leaders don't take action now, a new report urges. Tens of thousands of Mississippi families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by hurricanes last year will have a hard time finding replacement housing in the state unless government and private sector leaders work to accelerate rebuilding of affordable housing, according to a RAND Corp. study released Thursday. The study, "Rebuilding Housing Along the Mississippi Coast," provides an overview of the region's housing needs and suggests a series of policy options for state and local officials to consider. Estimates in early January suggested that at least 80,000 housing units in Mississippi sustained damage. RAND researchers say the damage estimates may be low because they include only housing units counted during the 2000 census. Preliminary estimates suggest that more than a third of the dam...