HATTIESBURG -- The
Institute for Disability Studies, located at The University of Southern
Mississippi, received a HUD Heroes Award for its housing initiatives
presented by the Mississippi Office of the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development at the annual Mississippi Housing Summit on
IDS was recognized for "bringing the reality
of home ownership to Mississippi citizens with disabilities."
The institute has worked in the area of home ownership for people
with disabilities since the creation of the Home of Your Own program
in 1997. Since the inception of the HOYO program, 70 Mississippians
with disabilities and their families in 25 counties located around
the state have purchased their own homes.
"We're happy to receive this recognition, not
for IDS, but to demonstrate that people with disabilities can achieve
the American dream by becoming home owners," said Royal Walker,
associate director of IDS.
Through HOYO, IDS provides qualifying potential home
buyers with home-buyer training, person-centered planning, guidance
through the loan process, pre- and post-purchase counseling, referrals
for service, and advocacy in support of independent living options.
In addition to the HOYO program, IDS has other complementary
housing-related projects. The HOME Investment Partnership Program
for the city of Jackson provides HOYO services to people with disabilities
and their families purchasing a home within the city limits of Jackson.
The HousingSmart project provides education and outreach to ensure
equal opportunities in housing and increase home ownership to Mississippians
with disabilities. Shelter for All is an almost statewide project
working with individuals with disabilities who are or are at risk
of becoming homeless.
For more information about any of IDS' housing initiatives,
call the Jackson office at 1-866-883-4474.
The Institute for Disability Studies is Mississippi's
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Research,
Education and Service headquartered for 30 years at Southern Miss.
The institute provides university training, community service activities,
research, and information that promote the independence, productivity,
and community inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their
families. For more information about IDS, visit www.usm.edu/ids
or call 1-888-671-0051 (TTY).