Citizens in Holmes, one of Mississippi's rural struggling counties, can look to a brighter economic future thanks to a progressing project called EDGE -Empowering the Delta with a Growing Economy.
The HUD Mississippi office celebrated at the end of April the grand opening ceremony of the EDGE facility with the Community Students Learning Center of Lexington, the recipient of a HUD grant for this innovative project.
This business incubator is the result of a HUD Rural Innovation Fund awarded in August of 2011. It was one of only seven comprehensive grants awarded nationwide and the expectation is for it to become a catalytic project that will have an impact on the community. It is already reporting results: Six businesses are being housed in EDGE and one of them has already produced 15 jobs.
The partnership with local and state organizations will help consumers participate in job training and mentoring, utilize the business incubation program, obtain life skills training and housing counseling, and receive fair housing information. In urban areas many of these services are provided separately, but due to the limited access to resources in the area, this one location will be pivotal to the community.
The event, held on Monday, April 29, 2013, also marked the ground breaking for five new homes for low-income families. It was attended by Congressman Bennie Thompson of the Second Congressional District, HUD's Mississippi Field Office Director Jerrie Magruder, and HUD's Community Planning and Development Director Linda Tynes.