Not very long ago, the shortage of affordable rental housing was only a concern of those living in the dense population centers of the East and West Coasts.
Unfortunately, rising rents and declining household incomes are now crippling low and moderate- income renters here in Mississippi.
Meanwhile, the number of vacant properties within the City of Jackson is on the rise, with current estimates exceeding 15,000 units. These vacant properties generate no property taxes, attract unlawful and unsafe activities, and frequently become fire hazards.
Thanks to a number of local advocates with the vision to see the “win-win” opportunity, and the support of state and municipal leaders, efforts are now underway to re-purpose blighted and abandoned properties into beneficial affordable housing stock.
In 2018, with the support of the MS Bar Foundation, The Mississippi Center for Justice will begin providing much needed free legal services and policy advocacy, as well as education and outreach, in order to support these innovative community revitalization efforts.
John Jopling is the Housing Law Director for the Mississippi Center for Justice.