Borough seeks residents for grant program

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This Manners Avenue house in Naugatuck had its roof, doors and windows redone and a new furnace installed with a zero-interest loan that the borough provided using Small Cities funding from the state. The borough is applying for a grant that would enable it to give out about $400,000 in no-interest loans for housing rehabilitation. For information, contact Mayoral Aide Ed Carter at (203) 720-7208 or ecarter@naugatuck-ct.gov. –LUKE MARSHALL
This Manners Avenue house in Naugatuck had its roof, doors and windows redone and a new furnace installed with a zero-interest loan that the borough provided using Small Cities funding from the state. The borough is applying for a grant that would enable it to give out about $400,000 in no-interest loans for housing rehabilitation. For information, contact Mayoral Aide Ed Carter at (203) 720-7208 or ecarter@naugatuck-ct.gov. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The borough needs citizens to help it help them.

The borough plans to apply for a Community Development Block Grant this year and needs to prove to the state that it has citizens who are in need of the money.

The money can be used for lead abatement, restorations for health and safety specifications, energy efficiency and bringing homes up to code.

The grant is part of a revolving fund. Once the homeowner pays the loan back, the borough then puts it to use for another resident.

“Say we did something for $25,000. That money would come out of the housing rehab fund and it would go to pay for it. Four of five years later you sell the property, we get paid the money back. That enables us to then add it into the pool again to potentially help another homeowner,” Mayoral Aide Ed Carter said.

The interest is 0 percent on the loan. The loan does not need to be paid back until the homeowner sells, remortgages, transfers the title or the home is no longer the resident’s principal place of residence.

“Other than that it remains silent,” said Peter Testa, director of housing rehabilitation with L. Wagner and Associates, the consulting firm working with the borough.

The borough is applying for $400,000 from the grant program, which is the maximum amount for which they are allowed to apply.

The loan people can apply for depends on the amount of work that needs to be done, the average is between $20,000 and $25,000, Testa explained. This means that, if the borough receives the maximum amount from the grant, it can help approximately 15 to 20 homeowners.

This project has no cost for the homeowner, Carter explained. The homeowner does not have to put any money up front and does not have to make monthly payments.

The grant also has no out of pocket cost for the borough, save for the time it takes to administer the loans. L. Wagner and Associates is paid directly from the grant, so the town does not spend any of its own money for the companies help.

To be eligible for the grant, homeowners must meet income guidelines, be up to date on taxes and the house must have equity.

Testa explained that 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.

Carter explained that it is important to have residents step up to show need, but they should not expect that this will be a fast program.

The deadline for the borough to turn in its application for the grant is April 5. Once the application is turned in, the borough will hear whether it received the grant in September. The money is then made available to the borough approximately 60 to 90 days after that.

The state wants to fund towns that are shovel-ready. It is more hesitant to give money to towns that do not have a waiting list of people who need the money.

Carter said that the borough is currently looking to meet with any resident who would be interested in taking part in this program.

Residents can contact Carter at Town Hall at (203) 720-7208 or by email at ecarter@Naugatuck-CT.gov. Applications for the loan can be found at Town Hall.