Crothersville seeking applicants to help town get grant

CROTHERSVILLE

Only one Crothersville resident has turned in an application to help the town receive a home improvement grant.

For the town to have a better chance at receiving an Owner-Occupied Rehab Aging in Place Project grant for the second straight year, more applications are needed.

Trena Carter with Administrative Resources association said she needs 10 to 15 homeowners to apply so she can turn in a more competitive application. Homeowners who have received repairs through the grant in the past three years are not eligible to apply again.

A public hearing was conducted March 14 at the Crothersville Senior Citizens Center, and Carter said a few people expressed interest in the program.

“We’ve only received one application, and there are two from the previous application that are still on the wait list,” Carter recently told the town council.

Any Crothersville resident 55 and older who can’t afford home repairs or needs handicap accessibility is encouraged to apply. Applications are available at Crothersville Town Hall.

In May, Carter said she will need to procure grant administration services, which is required by the funder, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

She also will develop a contractor list, and a three-member selection committee will be established for the procurement of administrative services. No more than two members can be from the town council, and the other person could be someone from the clerk-treasurer’s office or the community.

The Owner-Occupied Rehab Aging in Place Project 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.

The work completed on the homes varies depending on the safety and health concerns in each home. 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 residents. Other common work items include a new roof, electrical upgrades and heating, ventilation and air conditioning units.

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.

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.

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.

“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 number of communities receiving grants each year depends on the state’s funding. Typically, there’s only one funding round per year.

At a glance

Crothersville is applying for the Owner-Occupied Rehab Aging in Place Project grant again this year.

Any Crothersville resident 55 and older who can’t afford home repairs or needs handicap accessibility is encouraged to apply.

Ten to 15 homeowners are needed so the town’s grant consultant can submit a more competitive application.

Applications are available at Crothersville Town Hall, 111 E. Howard St. Information also may be obtained by visiting aracities.org or calling 812-376-9949.

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