WILMINGTON — Several programs designed to help lower-income homeowners or prospective homeowners with rehabilitations, repairs, new home construction and rent assistance could be available to Clinton County and Wilmington residents by way of an $800,000 Community Housing and Impact Preservation grant.
The county and the city’s application for the grant was turned in earlier this month, according to Amy Schocken of Community Development Consultants of Ohio. Schocken said she wouldn’t know until around August or September if the application is approved. There are still funds available in the current program year, said Schocken, so those interested should apply now while the grant is pending approval.
“We’re always looking for applicants,” Shocken said, adding that they’ll be added to the waiting list.
Most of the programs, Shocken said, are aimed at getting a home to meet code regulations, not just making it look nicer.
“We can spend $35,000 even $40,000, whatever is needed to bring that home up to snuff,” Schocken said. “We don’t do a whole lot of carpeting, new cabinets.”
For instance, a rehabilitation project might focus on electricity, plumbing, foundation or other major home projects designed to keep the home functional.
Schocken said the rehabilitations are five-year, deferrable loans. In other words, a lien is placed on the home that reflects the cost of the project.
Each year, 20 percent of that lien is forgiven. After five years, the lien and the loan are forgiven so long as the same owner still resides there. If the homeowner moves out and sells the home after three years, then they still have to pay back 40 percent out of the home’s equity.
Repairs are usually for improving accessibility, roofs, foundations, electrical work, plumbing or HVAC, Schocken said, adding that the goal was to repair and rehabilitate but not remodel the home.
Schocken said repairs are 100 percent paid for and can cost up to $10,000.
The program also puts in $20,000 per unit for two homes to be constructed by Habitat for Humanity, and works with the Clinton Metropolitan Housing Authority to provide rent assistance and alleviate CMHA’s waiting list.
An executive summary of Clinton County and Wilmington’s housing needs assessment shows money to be a prime issue in home ownership and quality.
The biggest issue listed was a lack of money for home repairs. Rising rents and paling incomes came second. A lack of construction of new homes, mortgage assistance, adequate transportation, child care and funds to market available services also made the list of issues.
Money was also a factor in not pursuing a down payment program.
“The very low incomes and lack of affordable houses for sale would impede the implementation of the program,” the summary read. “Also, the downturn in the local economy has resulted in previous CHIP down payment clients ending up in foreclosure, and the county is leery to go down this path again.”
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.