0

Grants available for emergency home repairs

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The Housing Authority of Clayton County is accepting applications for grants again, and has $100,000 designated for urgent rehabilitation projects for low-income families.

The HACC announced Monday that it has completed repairs on a list of urgent grant recipients, clearing up a waiting list that was a year long. It is now accepting applications for 2008.

The Housing Urgency Grants, capped at $7,000 for single-family dwellings, are given to "local families in need of urgent repairs to their homes, [who] have limited finances and nowhere to turn for funding," according to HACC.

Executive Director Linda Valentine said the authority has repaired gas leaks, several electrical problems, sewage back-ups and structural problems.

"We're reaching out now to help people," Valentine said. "We want to look at the most urgent needs, the immediate threats to health or safety."

In order to qualify for the one-time grant, a family must live in a single-family dwelling and earn no more than $24,900 (for a single person) and no more than $47,000 (for a family of eight.)

The money was used to rehabilitate 19 homes in 2006 and 34 homes in 2007. The authority hopes to increase the number of homes repaired in 2008.

"We know the need is there by the number of applicants we received in the past, so we hope to meet and exceed the number of homes we were able to rehabilitate last year," the executive director said. "Thanks to the foresight and commitment of our board, we are fortunate to have the funding available to open up our application process again and assist more local families with urgent home rehabilitation needs."

The grant initiative started in 2003 as a way to supplement the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's similar rehabilitation program in Clayton County. The rehab program is funded through Community Development Block Grants.

The idea, according to spokesman Chris Wood, is to keep neighborhoods from becoming blighted, by repairing and rehabilitating homes.

To begin the application process, or receive additional information on the program, call the HACC headquarters at (404) 362-1200.