Housing Assistance Grant

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Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:22 am

from Sun Journal:

Hearing set on grant proposal
By Terry Karkos , Staff Writer
Thursday, January 8, 2009

RUMFORD - A public hearing on an application for a $250,000 housing assistance grant will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, prior to the 7 p.m. selectmen meeting.

The grant money will be used to help landlords with restoring rental properties to comply with fire and other safety standards.

It will also be used to help low- to moderate-income (under $39,000 for a four-person family) building owners in Strathglass Park repair crumbling masonry on the historic brick duplexes.

Because it's a federal grant, Rumford must provide a local match of $25,000.


Phil, how will the local match work? Will it be in-kind, cash or some combination? Would it come from owners in part in any way, like labor, etc.? Or would it be strictly town-funded? I think it certainly falls under economic development. Does it work like the facade grant? I know, lots of questions but I think it's a good project and need more info. Thanks, Timeout

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:49 am

Couple or six more questions...

Can any landlord participate or do they have to be below a certain level of income?

Do landlords have to need a certain amount of repairs before they can be part of this or is it for any fire code/safety related repairs?

Can tax acquired properties qualify?

How many landlords would you reasonably expect to participate? How many buildings?

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:24 am

The state wants the town to identify exactly where the 10 percent matching funds come from. We checked with Community Concepts to see if any of their existing work could be described as an in-kind match, but didn't get very far. So, just to make things as clear and straightforward as possible and not to play games trying to re-define some questionable expenditure as a match, we are just going for a simple cash match of $20,000 and a $5,000 in-kind match from the labors of the town manager, finance director, building inspector, etc.

The money comes from the current Economic Development budget, which was part of last year's tax levy, so it will not increase spending or taxes going forward.

Once the grant has been secured, owner-occupants will get a 100 percent grant for repairs but landlords will have to match us 50 percent (cash not labor!). This comes later and can not be twisted back to a definition of an original match.

The bottom line is that the grant process is highly competitive. There will be probably four grants and over a dozen towns going for them. If your application has funny stuff in it (such as trying to count anticipated landlord money, which is not guaranteed as to quantity or certainty, as if it were a solid match), it lessens the chance we'll win the grant.

The landlord income isn't a factor, but 51 percent of their tenants must be low to moderate income by federal standards.

We won't know how many people participate until they participate. I am hoping to have the specific buildings identified before the final application March 3.

If your question about tax-acquired properties is whether the town can be one of the beneficiaries of the grant, I am not sure but it sounds hinky to me and I would shy away from that.

We are using fire code issues as the wedge issue for the landlord buildings, but the program requires that we also check to be sure the units are all up to Section 8 habitability standards and devote money to that if they are not.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:14 am

Thanks for the thorough answer. I can understand the money coming out of ED up front. Would that money be reimbursed to that fund after the landlords participate and put up their 50% cash?

Also, if you can give a little more detail on Strathglass Park. Let's see if I can get specific about my questions:

1 - Because Strathglass Park is on the historic register, renovations to things such as brick work have to fall under certain restrictions, is that correct?

2 - Do Strathglass owners view fixing the bricks as a priority?

3 - Would there be an in-kind contribution expected from these low to middle income owners?

4 - Are they two separate grants?

5 - If not, how do these projects fit together under one grant?

I appreciate your taking the time to answer...thank you, Phil.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:37 am

The Park is on the historic register, but the individual buildings are not. Thus, under normal circumstances, homeowners can do whatever they'd like. Under this grant, however, work on the Strathglass units will have to be reviewed by the Maine State Historic Preservation Commission.

If a Strathglass homeowner doesn't think keeping his/her property from collapsing is a priority, they don't have to apply for the grant.

The owner-occupants will get a 100 percent grant.

These are not separate grants. The basic intention of the program is to assist low to middle income residents and to combat blight. Both the fire code/landlord thing and the Strathglass thing fit under that requirement.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Vigs on Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:44 am

Good to know

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:51 am

Thanks Phil...that helps.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:17 pm

Congrats on receiving Board approval to pursue...good work. I was talking to a friend who is also a landlord and she was interested in hearing more. Is there a fact sheet that can be obtained anywhere regarding the grant?

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Vigs on Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:20 pm

applause

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Z on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:08 pm

This is a very positive step for Rumford. I hope it goes well. And Phil, although I didn't ask those really good questions, thanks for your really good answers.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Phil Blampied on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:39 pm

There is no fact sheet, but with landlords, the wedge issue is fire code upgrades, but we will also help pay for upgrades needed to bring the units to section 8 habitability standards. If a property has no need for fire code related improvements and is not in Strathglass Park, it would drop back in line behind properties that do and are.

A landlord has to have tenants of whom 51 percent are low to middle income and someone, the landlord, tenant or agency with Section 8 records, has to tolerate our looking at proof of that, be it income tax forms or section 8 records.

The landlord has to pay for half of the project, so if the place needs $18,000 in work, the landlord will have to give us a letter of committment to pay for $9,000.

Other than that, the landlord in question should contact me to get put on the list. I have five properties now. We will be firming up the list after the January 15 vote. I can be reached in various ways, including info@growrumford.com

Remember to get to the polls Jan. 15 and vote yes on the CDBG grant! Thanks.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:41 pm

So Phil, would the tenants who are not necessarily Section 8 but below the income limits meet the requirements? And what about landlords with empty apartments? How does that work? These are my friend's questions.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Phil Blampied on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:45 pm

Timeout wrote:So Phil, would the tenants who are not necessarily Section 8 but below the income limits meet the requirements?


Yes.

Timeout wrote:And what about landlords with empty apartments? How does that work? These are my friend's questions.

Empty apartment is okay if the remaining apartment tenants meet the income standards. If you're talking about a vacant building, we'll have to look into that. I think we would be allowed to include a vacant building, but the need is obviously greater in a place where people are making their homes right now. I guess if someone applied with a vacant building, Len would make the call.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:46 pm

Okay, the situation is owner occupied, one tenant, one empty apartment. But I don't think the owners are below the income guidelines.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

Post by Timeout on Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:50 pm

Thanks.

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Re: Housing Assistance Grant

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