Crothersville applying for home improvement grant

CROTHERSVILLE

The Crothersville Town Council recently received some good news about applying for a home improvement grant.

If the town is awarded funding, it wouldn’t have to spend as much on a local match as anticipated.

A new matrix resulted in the match being based on a point system, so to have the 11 homeowners who applied receive around $15,000 worth of home improvements apiece, the town would pay $4,500 and earn two points on the grant application. The total application cost would be $216,482.

In the past, if the town applied for the maximum $350,000 Owner-Occupied Rehab Aging in Place Project grant, there was a required 10 percent local match, or $35,000, and nearly 20 homeowners could benefit.

This year, the number of applicants was low early on, but the town’s grant consultant, Trena Carter with Administrative Resources association, wound up with just enough. She needed a minimum of 10.

The town could have gone for more points, but that would have resulted in spending more money.

The application is due July 17.

If the town receives the grant again, Carter would handle administrative services. Crothersville received $155,570 in 2016 and $294,062 in 2011.

The program, which is presented through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, helps residents age 55 and older who can’t afford home repairs or need handicap accessibility.

It allows eligible entities to apply for grant funding to complete repairs on owner-occupied residential properties. The home must be on a permanent foundation and be insured.

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.

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.

In the past, as long as the homeowners stayed in their homes for three years, they didn’t have to pay any money back.

Now, though, there no longer is a lien or restrictive covenant placed on the homes, Carter said.

“This is an Aging in Place program, so basically, what we’re hoping is that it allows seniors or the disabled to stay in their home for a longer period of time,” Carter said.

Homeowners who received repairs through the grant in the past three years were not eligible to apply again.

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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.