Town seeking home improvement grant

CROTHERSVILLE

After receiving a home improvement grant in 2011 and 2016, Crothersville is applying again this year in hopes of being able to help residents age 55 and older who can’t afford home repairs or need handicap accessibility.

The town council recently gave Trena Carter with Administrative Resources association approval to apply for the Owner-Occupied Rehab Aging in Place Project grant, which is presented through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Last year, Carter asked for the maximum $350,000 grant request, and the town received $155,570 to help eight households. In 2011, Crothersville received $294,062.

If the town receives the full amount, it would require a 10 percent local match, or $35,000, and nearly 20 homeowners could benefit.

Residents interested in applying may pick up an application at Crothersville Town Hall. Carter said a public hearing will be in March or April, possibly at the Crothersville Senior Citizens Center.

The deadline to submit the grant application will be in July.

“You get additional points scored if you serve people that are within the 30 percent income limit and 40 percent income limit,” Carter said. “Those are different benchmarks that we put in the application to make sure that we get the maximum points available and serve the people that need the most help.”

The program allows eligible entities to apply for grant funding to complete repairs on owner-occupied residential properties. Funding may be used to address conditions in a home that, if left unattended, would create an issue with the integrity of the home or become a detriment to the quality of life for the residents.

Carter said the home must be on a permanent foundation and be insured.

Homeowners receiving assistance must provide income documentation. An inspector also visits the homes for lead and home modification assessments and to verify the homeowners’ needs.

That paperwork is sent to the funding agency for approval and then goes to the Department of Natural Resources to make sure the homes are not historic.

Once everything is approved, a bidder’s list is created of eligible contractors. Homes are sent to bid and awarded individually to the lowest, most responsive bidder. There could be a different contractor for each home.

As long as the homeowner stays in their home for three years, they don’t have to pay any money back.

The goal is to help people be able to stay in their homes longer.

Homeowners who have received repairs through the grant in the past three years are not eligible to apply again, Carter said.

The work completed on the homes varies depending on the safety and health concerns in each home, said Victoria Dake, who works in housing grants management for ARa and has administered the program for Crothersville.

“This is an Aging in Place program, so the focus is to do repairs that help with home modifications, such as walk-in showers, grab bars, better lighting throughout the house and eliminating any entry barriers for them,” Dake said. “Other common work items include a new roof, electrical upgrades and HVAC units.”

Last year, Crothersville was one of 12 communities in the state receiving a grant. The town received half of the amount it applied for, but officials said they were fortunate because only half of the 24 communities around the state that applied for funding received it.

The number of communities receiving grants each year depends on the state’s funding, Dake said. Typically, there’s only one funding round per year, around July.

“It is a very competitive program, and cities and towns can apply every year if they have enough interested applicants,” she said. “It is also important to note that cities and towns who have not received a recent program typically score higher than those that have.”

At a glance

Crothersville is applying for the Owner-Occupied Rehab Aging in Place Project grant, which helps residents age 55 and older who can’t afford home repairs or need handicap accessibility.

Residents interested in applying to receive a portion of that funding can pick up an application at Crothersville Town Hall, 111 E. Howard St.

Those who have received assistance through the grant in the past three years are not eligible to apply.

The town will learn later this year if it receives a grant.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.