The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

“Delta Vision, Delta Voices”

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Appendix A


Arkansas (42 Counties): Arkansas, Ashley, Baxter, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Clay, Cleveland, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Fulton, Grant, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Marion, Mississippi, Monroe, Ouachita, Phillips, Poinsett, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, St. Francis, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Union, Van Buren, White, Woodruff

Illinois (16 Counties): Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union, White, Williamson

Kentucky (21 Counties): Ballard, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Fulton, Graves, Henderson, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Todd, Trigg, Union, Webster

Louisiana (45 Parishes): Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, E. Baton Rouge, E. Carroll, E. Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafourche, La Salle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Orleans, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Plaquemines, Rapides, Richland, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Union, Washington, W. Baton Rouge, W. Carroll, W. Feliciana, Winn

Mississippi (45 Counties): Adams, Amite, Attala, Benton, Bolivar, Carroll, Claiborne, Coahoma, Copiah, Covington, DeSoto, Franklin, Grenada, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lawrence, Leflore, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Montgomery, Panola, Pike, Quitman, Rankin, Sharkey, Simpson, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tippah, Tunica, Union, Walthall, Warren, Washington, Wilkinson, Yalobusha, Yazoo

Missouri (29 Counties): Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Crawford, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Howell, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscott, Perry, Phelps, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Genevieve, St. Francois, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Texas, Washington, Wayne, Wright

Tennessee (21 Counties): Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison, Obion, Shelby, Tipton, Weakley

Appendix B


1987: The Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission was envisioned by former Senator Dale Bumpers (AR) and former Congressman Mike Espy (MS), who drafted the legislation authorizing the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission (commonly called The Delta Commission).

1988: Congress enacted Public Law 100460, establishing the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission, to assess the needs, obstacles, and goals of the people living in the Lower Mississippi Delta region. The region includes 219 counties and parishes within the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Delta Commission was chaired by then-Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton, and was headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.

1989: The Delta Commission studied, and made recommendations on the economic needs, problems, and opportunities of the Region, developing a 10-year economic development plan for the Delta. The first Report of The Delta Commission, Body of the Nation: The Interim Report of the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission, was released.

1990: The final Report was prepared and submitted to President Bush and the 101st Congress by The Delta Commission, entitled The Delta Initiatives: Realizing the Dream…Fulfilling the Potential.

1994: In the Clinton-Gore Administration’s Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community program (EZ/EC), approximately one fourth of the rural EZs and ECs in the entire national program were located in the Delta—seven ECs as well as the Mississippi Delta Empowerment Zone Alliance (MDEZA).

1994: The Congress enacted Public Law 103-433, directing the Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to undertake a comprehensive program of studies on the heritage of the Lower Mississippi Delta to identify resources and recommend methods to preserve and interpret the natural, cultural, and recreational resources of this region with economic development through enhanced tourism as the primary goal.

1994: On his extensive “border-to-border” tour, then Federal Highway Administrator Rodney Slater traveled through much of the Delta, and discussed with State officials the potential and timing for updating the 1990 Report.

1995: The Federal Highway Administration released Linking The Delta region With The Nation and The World, which updated progress in improving transportation and employment in the Lower Mississippi Delta region.

1996: The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior (National Biological Survey), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USGS) cosponsored a Delta technical conference on agricultural/environmental issues, opportunities, and technology transfer.

1996: In its guidance on the 1996 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture committed to pursuing special initiatives, based upon partnerships and collaborations, to address the persistent poverty found in the Mississippi Delta. USDA, in collaboration with the Housing Assistance Council, began an initiative to pull together existing expertise to create a comprehensive community development strategy for the Delta.

1997: President Bill Clinton proposed in his FY1998 budget to commit $26 million to revitalization efforts in the Delta region and proposes a Delta regional Commission.

1998: President Bill Clinton requested that Congress renew the Federal government’s commitment to the region by creating the Delta region Economic Development initiative.

1998: U.S. Congressmen Harold Ford, Jr. (TN) and Marion Berry (AR) joined forces to gain congressional approval of the $26 million plan by President Clinton to promote economic revitalization of the Lower Mississippi Delta region. Ford and Berry responded to the President’s call by seeking full funding for the initiative. Twelve members of Congress—including Democratic Minority Leader Richard Gephardt—who represent congressional districts in the Lower Mississippi Delta region joined Ford and Berry in a letter to the House Appropriations Committee to gain approval of the initiative. Congress did not pass the plan.

1998: Vice President Al Gore announced a major initiative to combat the Delta’s chronic poverty. The new initiative—the Delta regional Initiative—is a combined effort of the Southern Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Forum and the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Center. Vice President Gore, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo were signatories to this Memorandum of Understanding with the community development organizations.

1998: U. S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater convened “The Delta Beyond 2000” Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, where the Department of Transportation was joined by nine other Federal agencies, as well as a number of State and local leaders to discuss economic development challenges and other issues pertaining to the region. The Federal partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding, and agreed to assess Federal accomplishments toward fulfilling the goals and recommendations of the 1990 Delta Commission Report. In addition to Transportation, the initial nine Federal agencies included: Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, Interior, Small Business Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1999, the MOU was expanded to include the Departments of Defense, Justice, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Energy and the National Office of Drug Control Policy.

August 1998: On August 11, thirty regional organizations signed a “Delta Compact”, pledging $40 million in resources and technical assistance for community economic development and committing to draft and implement a regional strategy.

January 1999: In Round II of the EZ/EC program, the new Southernmost Illinois Delta EZ was designated.

February 1999: In February, Transportation Secretary Slater traveled to the east Arkansas Delta region, and announced two DOT-funded projects: $450,000 in Federal-aid funds for a highway feasibility study between Pine Bluff and Memphis and a Crowley Ridge Parkway dedication in Jonesboro highlighting the efficient and effective use of over one million dollars in FY99 discretionary funds. The trip, in which Secretary Slater had the opportunity to interact with State, county and local officials, and business and community leaders, specifically served as a reminder not only of how much has been accomplished in the Delta region but also how much work remains to be done.

March 1999: At his March 3 Cabinet meeting the President discussed accomplishments in the Delta region and the need for re-energized cooperation of all Federal Departments in achieving further improvement for the residents of the Delta region under the initiative.

July 1999: In July, as part of his New Markets Tour, President Clinton visited Clarksdale, MS to meet with local representatives and business leaders to encourage investment in the region.

September 1999: The Mississippi Delta: Beyond 2000 Interim Report is released. This document reviewed the progress achieved in fulfilling many of the 400 recommendations of the Delta Commission’s 1990 report.

1999: In September, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (AR) and U.S. Congressman Marion Berry (AR) introduced legislation to establish a Delta Regional Authority, “To provide economic, planning and coordination assistance needed for the development of the lower Mississippi River region.”

September-October 1999: Continuing President Clinton’s effort to extend the nation’s economic prosperity to underdeveloped regions such as the lower Mississippi Delta, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater held four listening sessions in West Memphis, Arkansas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Cape Girardeau, Missouri. These sessions brought together stakeholders in the region and solicited their views as part of the “Voices of the Delta” section in the Clinton Administration report Delta Vision, Delta Voices to be published in early 2000. The sessions, hosted by Transportation Secretary Slater, were an agency-wide collaborative effort of the Clinton-Gore Administration.

November 1999: President Clinton made a “New Markets Initiative” trip to Hermitage, Arkansas, to praise the Hermitage Tomato Cooperative as a model for small farmers and local economic development. USDA Rural Development funded the tomato cooperative, and it helped small tomato producers stay in farming, as well as creating jobs for a local tomato processing plant.

1999: In December, President Clinton visited West Memphis, Arkansas and announced support for the creation of a permanent regional commission, a “circuit rider” technical assistance program for rural areas, rural health care initiatives, and other policies aimed at addressing the economic problems of the region.

January 2000: In his State of the Union Address, President Bill Clinton announced a proposed package of targeted funding to address social and economic development needs in the Delta.

2000: President Bill Clinton proposed more than $159 million for additional targeted funding in his FY2001 budget for the Delta region.

May 2000: President Bill Clinton convened a national conference in Washington, D.C. to address the future of the Delta’s social and economic progress.

Appendix C


between the

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is made and entered into by and between the Department of Agriculture; Department of Commerce; Department of Defense; Department of Education; Department of Energy; Environmental Protection Agency; Federal Emergency Management Agency; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of the Interior; Department of Justice; Department of Labor; Office of National Drug Control Policy; Small Business Administration; Department of Transportation; Department of the Treasury; Department of Veterans Affairs; Office of Personnel Management; Social Security Administration and the General Services Administration (collectively, “participating agencies”).

The purpose of this MOU is to establish a general framework for cooperation between the participating agencies on economic revitalization initiatives in the Delta region. The participating agencies propose to work together to coordinate and support a broad-based government wide review and assessment of the Delta State region. This effort will build upon the work of President Clinton and Vice President Gore to strengthen rural communities for the 21st Century.

In particular, the participating agencies desire to work together in providing a review and update of the Delta Initiatives: “Realizing The Dream - Fulfilling The Future.” This 1990 Report listed 400 recommendations and 68 goals. The participating agencies will establish the parameters of the assessment. They will work separately and together with State and local entities in developing channels for accessing research. The participating agencies will coordinate an appropriate final Report response and mechanism or medium for response.

This collaborative effort will promote the continued revitalization of the seven State Delta Region as discussed in the 1990 Report. The Lower Mississippi Delta Region of the United states is an area flanking the lower Mississippi River, including parts of seven states: Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. This Delta region has long been considered one of the poorest regions in the Nation. In addition, the purpose of this collaboration is to provide assistance in furthering the implementation of the 1990 Delta Initiative recommendations.

In 1988, Congress established the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission—providing for a bipartisan commission to study and make recommendations regarding economic needs, problems and opportunities in the Delta region, and to develop a 10-year regional economic development plan.

The Commission completed its work in 1990 and produced a final Report, which was submitted to then-President George Bush under the signature of the Commission’s Chairman, then- Governor Bill Clinton. The Report was an aggressive, ambitious plan for the development of a large and integrally important region of our Nation. The Report focused on transportation; human capital development (education, job training, health and housing); natural and physical assets (agriculture and natural resources); private enterprise (entrepreneurial development, technology development and tourism); and the environment.

In 1995, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administrator Rodney E. Slater commissioned the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to update the 1990 Report with regard to the transportation element. A most important finding of the update was that the improved transportation facilities of the region had led to the creation of more jobs and more opportunity. In fact, there was a gain of 252,000 jobs from 1990 to 1995 and job growth in the Delta region has outperformed the rest of the Nation on a percentage basis since 1990.

All assistance provided under this MOU and subsequent interagency agreements shall be in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations. All contract work undertaken by the parties in furtherance of this MOU shall be performed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

The participating agencies are dedicated to providing assistance for the sustainable development of American communities. The complexity of the Delta’s needs warrants a continued effort of examination and action. Solutions require participation at every level of government.

These agencies recognize the Delta region is rich with natural resources and physical assets. The Delta is positioned to help the Nation as a whole increase its competitiveness in a global economy.

Work together with State and local leaders at developing a thorough assessment and plan of action to the extent authorized by law, and continue throughout the process of review to provide appropriate assistance when and where needed in the Delta region to the extent appropriations are available.

Each agency will develop and be responsible for its own portion of the review process. The participating agencies will form a Working Group Task Force and meet as needed to coordinate activities and share information, and to help each agency more effectively perform its mission.

The formulation of a final review and presentation will be determined by this task force. Each agency understands that the intention of this MOU is to foster cooperation and streamlining among the participating agencies.

Specific work projects or activities that involve the transfer of funds, services, or property between the parties to this MOU will require the execution of separate agreements or contracts, contingent upon the availability of funds as appropriated by Congress. Each subsequent agreement or arrangement involving the transfer of funds, services, or property between the parties to this MOU must comply with all applicable statutes and regulations, including those statutes and regulations applicable to procurement activities.

This MOU in no way restricts the participating agencies from participating in similar activities or arrangements with other public or private agencies. Nothing in this MOU shall obligate the participating agencies to expend appropriations or to enter into any contract or other obligation.

This MOU may be modified or amended upon written request of any party and the concurrence of the others. Participation in this MOU may be terminated with a 60-day written notice of any party.

Additional agencies may be added to this MOU.

Unless terminated under the terms of section VI, this MOU will remain in full force and in effect until January 1, 2001.

To provide for consistent and effective communication between the participating agencies, each of the participating agencies shall appoint a representative to discuss and consider activities that may be pursued under this MOU.

(20 signatures supplied on disk to be inserted here – in same order as at top of MOU)

Appendix D



Mid-Delta Mississippi Empowerment Zone, Mississippi
14000 Highway 82 West
P.O. Box 7275
Mississippi Valley State University
Itta Bena, Mississippi 38941
PH: 601-254-9957
FX: 601-254-9941

Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone, Illinois
219 Rustic Campus Drive
Ullin, Illinois 62992
PH: 618-634-2284
FX: 618-634-2287


North Delta Mississippi EC, Mississippi
215 South Pocahontas Street
Sardis, MS 38666
PH: 601-487-1968
FX: 601-487-0088

Northeast Louisiana Delta EC, Louisiana
400 East Craig Street, Suite B
Tallulah, LA 71282
PH: 318-574-0995
FX: 318-574-3132

Macon Ridge EC, Louisiana
903 Louisiana Avenue
P.O. Drawer 768
Ferriday, LA 71334
PH: 318-757-3033
FX: 318-757-4212

Mississippi County EC, Arkansas
205 South Second Street
Blytheville, AR 72316
PH: 870-532-2348
FX: 870-532-2625

East Central Arkansas, Arkansas
1000 Airport Road
Forrest City, AR 72335
PH: 870-630-2005
FX: 870-630-2035

City of East Prairie, Missouri
Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center
207 North Washington Street
P.O. Box 249
East Prairie, MO 63845
PH: 573-649-3731
FX: 573-649-5028

Fayette/Haywood EC, Tennessee
157 Poplar, Room B150
Memphis, TN 38103
PH: 901-545-4610
FX: 901-545-3519


Pulaski County, Arkansas
400 West Markham, Suite 703-704
Little Rock, AR 72201-2424
PH: 501-340-5675
FX: 501-340-5680

Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
P.O. Box 4268
Monroe, LA 71211
PH: 318-329-4031
FX: 318-329-4034

New Orleans, Louisiana
Office of Federal and State Programs
1300 Perdido Street, Room 2E10
New Orleans, LA 70112
PH: 504-565-6414
FX: 504-565-6423

Memphis, Tennessee
Center for Neighborhoods
619 North Seventh Street
Memphis, TN 38107
PH: 901-526-6627
FX: 901-523-9388

Jackson, Mississippi
Office of City Planning/Minority Business
218 South President Street
Jackson, MS 39205
PH: 601-960-1908
FX: 601-960-2192




In the early part of this century, Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, was vibrant with juke joints and clubs, serving as one of the cultural centers of the Mississippi Delta region. W. C. Handy, Blind Lemon, Robert Johnson and countless other Delta performers found solace, an audience and opportunity on Beale Street. In the 1970s and early 1980s, this vibrancy was but a shadow of years past. In the late 1980s and 1990s, Beale Street experienced an economic and cultural revival, due, in part, to significant public investment. For example, an investment of $2.5 million in HUD Community Development Block Grant Funds is helping the Gibson Guitar Company build a State-of-the-art guitar manufacturing facility not far from Beale Street in downtown Memphis.

The Gibson Guitar project—like other projects HUD has worked on in the Delta region—is about more than just bricks and mortar. It is built upon the rich tradition of the Delta itself. Opportunity for the future of the Delta can be found in its history and traditions. For too long, the people and communities of the Mississippi Delta region have lived in the shadows of our nation’s economic success. For the past ten years, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development has supported regional development initiatives in the Lower Mississippi Delta, working in partnership with people and communities to create a more promising future.

Secretary Andrew Cuomo, like Secretary Henry Cisneros before him, has given steadfast support to the regional development initiative in the Delta, during the period 1993-2000. HUD has encouraged regional efforts to carry out programs, and has partnered with other organizations such as the Foundation for the Mid South, State and local governments, and other Federal agencies.

HUD’s new “Community Builders” play a particularly useful role in the Delta region. Secretary Cuomo launched the Community Builders Fellowship in March 1998 as a major element of HUD’s management reform plan, which calls for a new focus on community outreach and direct customer service for the public. HUD Community Builders have been working in the Delta region since the fall of 1998. Examples of work assignments for Community Builders include meeting with community leaders, business owners, educators and elected officials to help them design effective plans for utilizing funds from government, the private sector, and foundations; helping a small business owner obtain a loan or grant or open a business; working with a group of developers to find financing for a shopping center; scouting out a location for a new park with the neighborhood association; and developing ways to increase homeownership in neighborhoods. The Community Builders in all of the offices that are involved in supporting the Delta Initiative are collaborating to address problems in a coordinated way.

Safe, Affordable Owner-Occupied Housing
Homeownership is an important part of the American dream, and HUD has worked to increase the national homeownership rate by targeting its efforts to traditionally underserved populations. In 1990, the homeownership rate was 63.9 percent for the nation, and this has increased 2.9 percentage points to a record high of 66.8 percent in 1999. Six of the seven states in the Mississippi Delta have homeownership rates above the national average. Of course, it should be kept in mind that for the northernmost Delta (Missouri, Kentucky, and especially Illinois), the Delta regions represent relatively small parts of their states. (Note: Homeownership statistics are available at the statewide but not the county level.)

  • 73.9 percent of Kentucky’s households were homeowners in 1999, an increase of 7.8 percentage points.
  • 72.9 percent of Missouri’s households were homeowners in 1999, an increase of 8.9 percentage points.
  • 74.9 percent of Mississippi’s households were homeowners in 1999, an increase of 5.5 percentage points.
  • 67.1 percent of Illinois’ households were homeowners in 1999, an increase of 4.1 percentage points.
  • 71.9 percent of Tennessee’s households were homeowners in 1999, an increase of 3.6 percentage points.

The remaining two states, Arkansas and Louisiana, have rates of 65.6 percent and 66.8 percent, respectively, while having experienced small declines of 2.2 and 1.0 percentage points.

In June 1995, President Clinton committed the Nation to increasing the homeownership rate to 67.5 percent by the year 2000. He brought together a partnership of 58 key public and private organizations to forge a National Homeownership Strategy. The efforts of these national partners to reduce the financial, information, and systemic barriers to homeownership are amplified by local partnerships at work in over 100 cities, including several communities in the Delta.

HUD has taken a number of specific steps to expand homeownership opportunities in the Delta and across the nation:

Housing Counseling
The 1990 Commission recommended that HUD should create homeownership and maintenance courses for low-income and moderate-income families who will benefit from government assisted homeownership programs. HUD’s Housing Counseling program is one example of the Department’s efforts to help these families learn more about the process of finding, financing, and maintaining a home.

HOME Program
HUD’s HOME program is a block grant for housing that participating local jurisdictions and states can use to further their homeownership goals. This is an important source of funds for small cities in the Delta. HOME funds invested in homeownership activities are most commonly used for down payment assistance, generally in the form of a subordinate, non-amortizing mortgage. Many hard working low-income families lack the savings necessary for a home down payment despite stable employment. A single, up-front investment of HOME funds often provides the assistance necessary for such a family to obtain and maintain homeownership (it should be noted that housing counseling, mentioned above, has proven a strong complement to HOME-funded homeownership projects).

Homeownership Programs and Escrow Accounts for Public Housing Residents
The 1990 Commission recommended that HUD, working with local housing authorities, should establish escrow accounts of a percentage of monthly rent for high-end rent paying tenants to be used later for down payments on homes. A draft rule to implement the voucher homeownership program has been published; a final Rule is expected soon.

Additionally, Public Housing Agencies (PHA) in the Delta may apply for a number of homeownership programs for low-income families. One program, Section 5(h) homeownership, allows PHAs to sell public housing properties to public housing residents. Other PHAs operate their own homeownership programs, building or buying homes that can be sold to public housing residents. It is possible for PHAs to serve as lenders, insuring mortgages for lower interest rates or offering silent second mortgages to allow families to buy down the mortgage amount. Interested families must contact the housing authorities for information regarding programs offered in their area.

An example of these programs at work in the Delta can be seen in Tennessee, where the Memphis Housing Authority administers a Family Self-Sufficiency Program for residents of both public housing and Section 8 certificate and voucher programs. Sixteen public housing residents and eighteen section 8 residents have escrow accounts.

Increases in FHA Loan Limits and Volume Cap
In 1998, President Clinton signed legislation increasing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limit so that more middle-income city residents and minorities, who have traditionally tended to rely on FHA mortgage insurance, can enjoy the benefit of FHA single-family mortgages; this enables more families to qualify for FHA mortgages by raising the limit on home mortgages. Additionally, Secretary Cuomo asked Congress in March 1999 to let the Federal Housing Administration insure up to $130 billion in home mortgages this year and another $130 billion next year—at no cost to taxpayers. Increasing FHA loan limits—and potentially increasing the volume cap—will allow HUD’s FHA to assist more and more families in the Delta achieve their dreams of homeownership.

Fighting Housing Discrimination
Finally, although overt discrimination has been driven underground, minority Americans, persons living with disabilities, families with children, religious minorities, and other groups continue to suffer when denied housing opportunities as a result of discrimination. HUD has bolstered its homeownership efforts in the Delta by aggressively enforcing the Fair Housing Act, supporting a network of public agencies and nonprofit fair housing organizations.

Housing for the Elderly and People with Disabilities
HUD has two programs—Section 202 Housing for the Elderly and Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities—that provide capital advances to finance the construction and rehabilitation of structures that will serve as supportive housing for very low-income elderly and disabled persons. These programs provide rent subsidies for the projects to help make them affordable. This program provides low-income elderly and disabled persons with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, etc.

HUD’s fiscal year 2000 (FY 2000) budget lays out a plan to meet the changing housing needs of our nation’s elders and to provide security and peace of mind to coming generations of senior citizens, proposing $660 million for Section 202, including reforms to allow conversion of existing buildings where seniors need assisted living, and $87 million for 15,000 housing vouchers targeted to elderly persons.

Moratorium on Multi-Family Mortgage Subsidy Pre-Payments
Because of the threat prepayment posed to affordable housing stock nationwide, the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 extended the moratorium on prepayment of these mortgages. The Act also included a program that provided financial incentives to owners in lieu of prepayment. This moratorium lasted until 1996 when Congress lifted it because of extremely high program costs of providing these incentives. While some of these mortgages have since been prepaid, HUD has been able to protect eligible tenants with Section 8 vouchers. The Department continues to work with owners to prevent this type of prepayment.

Assistance for Homeless Persons
The Clinton Administration has made addressing homelessness one of its top priorities. That has included an emphasis on new approaches which better serve homeless persons in rural areas, such as the Delta region. Nationally, funding for HUD’s homelessness assistance programs has increased dramatically from $284 million in 1992 to $975 million in 1999, and $1.02 billion in 2000.

Continuum of Care and Emergency Shelter Grants
While the Commission’s goal to eliminate homelessness has not been achieved in the Delta, these funds, coupled with the implementation of the Continuum of Care approach to addressing homelessness, have provided the resources and tools needed to significantly impact the problem. The Continuum of Care approach calls for comprehensive and collaborative local planning to ensure the availability of the range of services, from emergency shelter to permanent housing, needed to meet the complex needs of homeless persons. The new approach has made it possible for rural areas to be more competitive in the annual grant-making process by ensuring funds for areas if they meet the quality standards of Continuum of Care competition. In addition, the Department has provided significant technical assistance to rural communities to assist them in crafting quality Continuums. As a result, in 1999, 240 rural projects were funded nationwide, representing approximately 8 percent of HUD’s homelessness assistance budget.

These funds provided an array of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing and services throughout the region that are gradually reducing the numbers of homeless men, women and children.

The success of the Continuum of Care can be seen at Our House, Inc., which operates an emergency homeless shelter in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, along with a HUD-funded transitional living facility, training center, and daycare center. Our House pioneered a bold new concept that the total community, through volunteerism, would provide the necessary training and supportive services which would help the homeless re-enter productive society, versus the previous method of warehousing the homeless first at one shelter, then another. Our House’s programs have been such a success that the month of December 1990 was declared “Our House Month” in the State of Arkansas by then Governor Bill Clinton in recognition of its accomplishments.

Housing for the Homeless
Under the State Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) program, states provide funds to smaller communities for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities and improving community facilities. A significant portion of these funds is used to reconstruct or rehabilitate housing and other property including homeless shelters and single-family homes in rural areas.

Housing Vouchers for the Homeless
Additionally, HUD’s FY2000 budget proposed 100,000 new vouchers to meet the needs of the poorest renters; 18,000 will be for homeless persons, to ensure the availability of permanent housing solutions at the end of the Continuum of Care. These vouchers will be available in both urban and rural areas, and can be a significant resource to assist in reducing homelessness in the Delta.

HUD’s Rural Housing Activities
The Delta region can also significantly benefit from HUD Rural Housing and Economic Development funds to produce and/or rehabilitate housing in rural areas. In FY 1999 and FY 2000, $25 million per year was appropriated for HUD’s Rural Housing and Economic Development Program, which funded innovative housing and economic development activities.

Community Substance Abuse
The Commission recommended that drug intervention, education and prevention programs be improved and/or created to make all local communities and schools in the Delta drug-free.

Drug Elimination Grants
The Drug Elimination program was authorized initially by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, as amended by the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 and the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992. The Act authorizes HUD to make grants available to Public Housing Authorities for the purpose of eliminating drug-related crime in and around public housing developments. The funds can be used for reimbursement of local law enforcement or additional services, security contracts, investigators, and training residents for volunteer resident programs. Recent appropriations acts have expanded the use of funding to include patrols, physical changes to enhance security, drug prevention, intervention and treatment strategies, allowing PHAs greater scope in targeting crime and developing successful alternatives.

For example, from fiscal years 1994 to 1998, the Memphis Housing Authority received over $8.5 million under HUD’s Drug Elimination Program. Over $671,000 of those funds was budgeted for prevention programs, including Summer Youth Sports Camps, Residents Against Crime Programs, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Enforcing the Fair Housing Act
On September 30, 1997, at the direction of President Clinton, Secretary Cuomo launched a Departmental attack against housing discrimination nationwide, including discrimination in the Mississippi Delta region. As part of that attack, Secretary Cuomo pledged to double the number of fair housing enforcement actions taken during the President’s second term. HUD is working tirelessly to achieve that benchmark by aggressively invoking its authority under the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to investigate, settle, and when necessary, prosecute cases of housing discrimination.

Partnering with Fair Housing Groups
As part of its mission to fight for fair housing, the Department also has continued to fund the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), which provides support to private non-profit organizations, State and local governments and others to enforce and enhance compliance with the nation’s fair housing laws. These funds are used in the Delta region to undertake testing and other enforcement activities to prevent and eliminate discriminatory housing practices.

“Report Card” on Housing Discrimination Finally, HUD has launched a rigorous, independent study of racial and ethnic discrimination in housing rental and sales in the nation’s urban, suburban and rural communities. The study will be used to establish a new benchmark of housing discrimination—a “report card.” The report card will allow HUD to target future efforts to enforce fair housing protections and assess the effectiveness of such enforcement in reducing the level of discrimination across the nation, including the Delta region.


The Mississippi Delta regional Initiative is interested in receiving comments and suggestions regarding the overall social and economic development of the Lower Mississippi Delta region. The Initiative will publish a compendium that will include this Report, in addition to a summary of the results of the Delta Vision, Delta Voices conference in the Washington, D.C. area on May 10-11, 2000. We invite comments at the Delta Website,, or written comments may be directed to:

Albert C. Eisenberg, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy
United states Department of Transportation
400 7th Street, SW
Room 10228
Washington, D.C. 20590

Delta Vision, Delta Voices: The Mississippi Delta Beyond 2000 (Main Report of the Clinton-Gore Administration’s Mississippi Delta regional initiative)

Executive Editor: Lee Powell, USDA Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities program (on detail to the Department of Transportation, 1999-2000) (202) 260-5677; email at

Lee Powell, Executive Editor, Mississippi Delta Report
USDA Office of Community Development (EZ/EC Program)
300 7th Street SW
Room 701
Washington, DC 20024

Associate Editors: Jill A. Schuker, Kimberly A. Bennett
The Kamber Group
1920 L Street, NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Design: Laurie Painter, Creative Services Department, The Kamber Group