Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Athens Receives $215K for Low Income Housing

Molly Smith

Good news for low-to-moderate income families in need of home improvements and repair. The City of Athens has received $215,000 from the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP). Monday night Athens City Council proposed that the city match $100,000 for the program, and that proposal will be voted on in two weeks.

CHIP provides resources to maintain, improve and expand affordable housing for homeowners in need of assistance. Community Action in Glouster is a state funding mechanism to disburse money from the National Department of Housing and Urban Development. They service Athens, Hocking and Perry counties to provide assistance to lower income families in need of a little help to keep their homes a safe and healthy environment.

Community Action Division Director Doug Stanley's take on the current housing conditions

Over the past 15 years Community Action has received millions of dollars in grants for programs like home repair, home rehab and home ownership assistance. The home repair program provides one or two health or safety repairs for the home. The home rehab service provides a comprehensive upgrade to the home for all major electrical, mechanical, heating and structural deficiencies. These two are only available to homeowners, not renters.

Home ownership assistance provides prospective homeowners with the money for their down payment and closing costs. This is a deferred payment and has a 0% interest, forgivable loan. They receive grants every two years that can help up to 25 families per grant.

These are client-based programs so eligibility is based on the individual homeowner. Household income and annual median income play a role in deciding eligibility. For example, the income limit for a family of four is $37,300 and a family of 5 is $44,750.

Applications for the programs mentioned earlier are available now.

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