Loan funding available for home fix-ups
SUMMIT COUNTY – Local officials are touting a grant program that would provide low-interest “refurbishment” loans of up to $24,999 to address health and safety issues in aging townhomes, condos and even single-family homes. Noting the Summit Housing Authority’s past focus on providing assistance for locals looking to move into a home, executive director Bonnie Osborne said, “The interesting thing is, this is the first time money is available for people already living in their homes.”The 3 percent loans would be available for residents who earn 80 percent or less than the Area Median Income. For a one-person household, that figure comes to $43,840; for a two-person household, it’s $50,160. The units must be owner-occupied.”We need to work pretty quickly. The application process is quite lengthy,” Osborne said, explaining that, due to federal budget cuts, the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are going away at the end of 2005. “If I can show that we have 10 applicants, the state will accept the application,” she said. Even though the CBDG programs appear to be going away at the end of the year, Osborne said the refurbishment funds garnered under the grant would remain in Summit County indefinitely, forming a revolving loan fund. As the original loans are repaid, the money would be turned around and loaned to new applicants, she said. The types of problems the money is intended for includes things like crumbling foundations, leaky roofs, failing furnaces, fireplaces or defective propane systems, said Silverthorne’s Peggy Long, a property management expert who sits on the town council and on the Summit Housing Authority board.Long said a mid-1980s boom in condominium construction means there are many units out there approaching 30 years in age, and in some cases, those developments are in need of serious repair. She is currently working with one condo association in connection with the grant where the roof is falling apart. In another case, she said she knows of a collapsed sewer pipe.”It’s 30 years old, and we can’t even identify the sewer line material,” Long said, explaining that it’s these types of costly infrastructure repairs the grants are intended to address.Osborne said the SHA must also clear several other procedural hurdles. Along with processing the grant applications, it must establish local guidelines and get letters of support and sponsorship from local governments. As well, the SHA would need to show local support in the form of in-kind donations of time or office space and even cash donations from private sources.For now, Osborne said she is sending out letters outlining the program to homeowner associations and property managers. Interested residents should contact Osborne at the SHA for more information at (970) 453-3555.
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