Standing in the Gap: Mercy Housing and Human Development

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As the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 continue to spread, Mercy Housing and Human development is doing what it always has, standing in the gap between South Mississippi residents and loss.

Mercy Housing and Human Development has actually kept some homes in our area out of foreclosure. There are many other services they provide that you or someone you know may need.

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Mercy Housing and Human Development Executive Director Julie Egressy said, “A snapshot of everybody’s house we’ve helped them get into with grants.”

A hall of homes and behind each photo is a story, South Mississippi residents who became homeowners thanks to a helping hand from Mercy Housing and Human Development in Gulfport. “We’re actually a HUD agency, working in tandem with them to provide home buyer education counseling, which unlocks the down payments and grants that are local in the local area. For example, right now, there is an FHLB federal home loan opportunity for down payment assistance, and Mississippi Home Corps is also offering down payment assistance. Basically about $17,000 to $20,000 of down payment assistance that somebody can use to buy a house.”

The nonprofit is also helping keep residents in their homes and out of foreclosure. “Right now, during COVID, we are a servicer for the Mississippi Hardest Hit funds. They did reopen back those funds so because of that reason, we are taking applications and providing information for people to apply for the Mississippi Hardest Hit funds through the state of Mississippi. We’ve had over 200 applications for foreclosure mitigation just through COVID alone over the past couple of months. We’ve had some positive stuff to come out of it-just to help people save their homes and come out of it.”

Mercy Housing and Human Development also offers a free tax preparation service. New this year is a drop box to make it more convenient for those wanting to file their taxes. “We entice you if you haven’t filled out your taxes yet, to come by our office, even after hours. We’re not open. Our lobby’s not open. We do have a drop box. You can open the box, get an envelope out, and fill out the information that’s required. Drop all of your text items in there.Just people who need to file their W2s, 1099’s and very simple paperwork.”

While social distancing measures are in place, employees here continue to work hard doing what they always do, providing assistance and turning dreams into a reality.

For more information about Mercy Housing and Human Development, you can visit mhhd.org or call 228-896-1945. Mercy Housing is located on Ford Street in Gulfport.

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned.... If you’d like to book a live in studio interview on News 25 Today, just email: tmiles@wxxv25.com. These interviews can have up to two guests, last about two minutes and showcase community events, non-profit organizations and things of interest to people in our area…and they’re FREE! Just send information about your event, including date, time, location, contact number and/or website for viewers wanting more information, along with the proper name and titles of the person or two people who will be interviewed, and Toni or producer Porsha Williams (pwilliams@wxxv25.com) will get back with you via email in a timely manner to book a date. Typical interview times are daily at: 5:45, 6:45, 7:45 or 8:45 am. Guests are asked to arrive about 30 minutes beforehand. You can also ask about booking a live shot on location for news events for our 6 and 7 am newscasts. We look forwarding to having you!