County seeks housing improvement funding


(Posted April 30, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Madison County is applying for $630,000 in federal funding to improve and provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents. The target areas are London and Mount Sterling.

The Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) is administered through the state government. In the last round, the state funded 35 of the 59 applications submitted. Madison County officials should know by August if the county is among this round’s funding recipients.

To improve the chances of receiving funding, the county asked for less money and partnered with the city of London. The state favors collaboration among government entities, said Whitaker Wright of CDC of Ohio, the planning firm that handles the county’s CHIP applications.

Madison County is seeking funds in four categories:

Home Repair—For major system repairs (plumbing, heating, ventilation, cooling, electrical, structural and handicap accessibility). The county is asking for $106,000 in CHIP money and the county would add $6,600 in local funds. The plan would be to fund repairs in nine homes with at least three being in London and three in Mount Sterling. Funds are provided as a grant.

Owner Rehabilitation—To bring homes up to the state’s residential standards. The county is asking for $233,400 in CHIP funds. Local funds would include another $1,000 from the county and $51,000 from the city of London. The plan would be to fund rehab projects for seven homes, with at least one being in London and one in Mount Sterling. Funds are a no-interest, deferred/declining loan.

Tenant-based Rental Assistance—To help residents obtain short-term (12 to 18 months) rental payment assistance. The program targets households at or below 60 percent of the county’s median income. The county is asking for $55,000 in CHIP funds to help 10 households. For the local share, tenants would be expected to provide an estimated $1,000 each.

Rental Rehabilitation—For rehabilitating units owned by the non-profit housing agency of the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The county is asking for $160,000 in CHIP funds to rehab five units. The Board of DD would provide $10,000 as the local share. The funds are a no-interest, deferred/declining loan.

In the home repair and owner rehabilitation categories, the local shares are not actually local tax dollars, but rather federal funds the county and city received in the past for housing-related programs.

Projects associated with the CHIP grant must be completed between Sept. 1, 2015, and Oct. 31, 2017. If Madison County receives funding, officials will start accepting applications from interested homeowners and tenants starting in September.

“It’s going to take a lot of work to get people to sign up,” Wright said, noting that when London last received CHIP funds in 2010, few residents signed up to receive the funding. He said he has set aside $3,000 in in the application to advertise the funding availability.

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