Funds available for home improvement

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NAUGATUCK — As a single mother who works for a nonprofit organization, Jill Mahoney wondered last year how she would pay for repairs to her single-family home built in 1900.

She had an old oil burning furnace, and she was paying about $400 per month to heat her home in the winter. She had Formica kitchen countertops that were about 15 years old and were pulling away from the walls because they weren’t installed properly. She needed electrical work to her fire alarm system to bring it into compliance with current building codes.

Mahoney sought help from the borough’s housing rehabilitation loan program. Because she was income eligible, she received a $14,300 deferred loan, which requires no repayment until transfer of a title or when the homeowner dies.

The borough has Community Development Block Grant funds available for property owners to complete housing rehabilitation projects. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is administered through the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Naugatuck received $300,000 for the program in 2013 from a Small Cities Grant, which benefits low- and moderate-income people in cities and towns with populations of less than 50,000.

The income eligibility limits depend on how many people live in the house, and rise by the number of occupants. For example, a two-person household must have a gross income of $51,900 or less, and a four-person household must have a gross income of $64,900 or less.

Mayor’s Aide Ed Carter administers the program in conjunction with Peter Testa, a grant coordinator with L. Wagner & Associates, Inc., the borough’s loan agent.

Since 2013, the borough has helped 14 people renovate their homes with the Small Cities Grant, and there is a little more than $50,000 left in the account. Carter asks anyone who may be eligible to contact his office at (203) 720-7082.

Testa said the program is beneficial to many people. For example, it is especially important to seniors on fixed incomes who want to remain in their homes.

For Mahoney, the loan was and continues to be a huge help.

She was able to replace her oil boiler with a Baxi gas-fired boiler that is about the size of a kitchen cabinet and is mounted on a wall. With the new system, her largest home heating bill this past winter was $236.

“That was a humungous savings for me,” she said. “And I got the laundry room back, which was nice.”