Funds for program come from federal grant
NAUGATUCK — The borough is poised to help low-income residents make necessary upgrades to their homes.
In 2013, the borough applied for and received a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant, which is awarded by the federal Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program, for a revolving loan program to help low-income residents rehabilitate their homes.
To be eligible for the grant, homeowners must meet income guidelines, be up to date on their taxes and the house must have equity.
The income guideline is 80 percent of the median income. This means that a single person making less than $45,100 or a family of four making less than $64,400 is eligible for the loan. The income is based on all of the members in the household.
The grant is part of a revolving fund. A homeowner that uses the funds would have to pay the money back at 0 percent interest once the homeowner sells, remortgages, transfers the title or the home is no longer the resident’s principal place of residence.
Mayoral Aide Ed Carter, who is overseeing the program, said the borough put out a call for those who would be interested in this program last February and is currently working down that list.
Carter, who provided an update on the program to the Board of Mayor and Burgesses Tuesday night, said there are currently 42 houses on the list, five of which have been officially approved by the borough for work. Carter said the borough has gone out to bid for two of the projects and is ready to bid the other three.
Carter said the items people request are not luxury ones, but things that are truly needed.
“These are people who need roofs, who need furnaces, who need windows and doors. They don’t really have that much funding themselves to go out and actually get the dollars right now,” Carter said.
The borough is also undertaking larger-than-expected projects through the program.
“These are people who contacted us and said maybe a roof and maybe a furnace. We discovered some other issues. There’s a bunch of windows that need to be replaced, there’s a crack in the foundation, the front porch was actually separated from the house, we have to do upgrades on the electricity in the house,” Carter said.
Carter said that the borough plans to apply for another Small Cities Grant in 2014 for a project not related to housing rehabilitation. However, to be considered for the grant, it will have had to spend at least 10 percent of the $400,000 is has currently.
In the past the Small Cities Grant the borough plans to seek this year has been used to repair the sidewalks on Cherry Street, install a wheelchair lift at the train station and complete housing upgrades at Oak Terrace Apartments, Carter said.
“It’s a great value to the community and I think it will increase the value for many homeowners,” Carter said.