Hi, all! This is the first in a series of articles that is being published by the Jackson County Housing Department to inform the local community of its activities and programs. To begin, let’s first take a look at the County’s perspective.

Our Housing Division understands that many of our residents are burdened by their housing costs and that there are not enough affordable housing units in the county.

Therefore our focus is on maintaining and expanding affordable housing in Jackson County. We primarily do this through our state funded program, the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP), which provides financial assistance for income eligible families that meet certain criteria.

The statistics listed below help to give some context to the current housing situation for the County. Chief among these statistics is the high poverty rate and the disparity between the Median Household Income and Median Monthly Cost/Gross Rent.

For example a $650 monthly rent cost for a minimum wage employee working 40 hours a week will take up to 50 percent of their pay before taxes. Keep in mind that affordable housing typically means that monthly housing costs should be about one third of monthly income. Additionally, the amount of homes that are actually owner-occupied by residents is significantly low in relation to our population size.

Population: 48,300

Total Residences: 17,441

Single Family Residences: 13,032

Mobile Homes: 4,409

Owner-Occupied Housing Units: 11,865

Renter-Occupied Housing Units: 4,879

Median Property Value: $94,900

Median Monthly Cost with a Mortgage: $950

Median Gross Rent: $650.00

Poverty Rate: 21%

Median Household Income: $36,950.00

(These figures have not been updated with information from Hurricane Michael. We will discuss the impacts of the storm in later articles.)

With this being said, the county, strives to “evaluate the implementation of specific initiatives to encourage or facilitate affordable housing while protecting the ability of the property to appreciate in value,” the government’s code of ordinances states.

The Jackson County Housing Division is just one means to that end.

In the coming articles we will discuss in more detail the types of programs the county offers, various housing guidelines, and give updates on the current issues facing the County from a housing perspective.

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