Housing authority: Low income repair grants still available

Low-income homeowners who have sewage backed up into their washing machines, or leaking pipes, or major issues with the electrical wires in their homes have a chance to get up to $7,000 to get those problems fixed, the Clayton County Housing Authority has announced.

Housing authority Executive Director Linda Valentine said the group has some Housing Urgency Grant (HUG) program funds left over after it distributed grants to all of the people on its waiting list. The grants, which can total up to $7,000, are designed to help low-income homeowners pay for “severe” repair emergencies in their homes, she explained.

The housing authority has enough funds to distribute grants to approximately 25 home owners, according to the group’s director. Funding for the grants comes from money collected through the rental of housing authority properties, she added.

“We still have some funds left, so we’d like to help some more high priority homeowners,” Valentine said.

There is no cut-off date for when people have to apply for the grants, other than the fact that they would need to apply before the funds run out. Valentine explained the types of emergencies that the grants pay for include: Electrical sparking, sewage problems, septic tank issues, severe plumbing problems, and inoperable furnaces, or air conditioning in the winter and summer, respectively.

“[A severe emergency] is an immediate threat to the family’s health and, or, safety,” Valentine explained.

The housing authority’s web site, haccga.com, shows there are four tiers of priority emergencies for the grants. “Priority 1” needs are gas leaks, electrical hazards, “major structural collapse, or imminent danger of collapse,” while “Priority 2” emergencies include sewage, septic tank, major water-related problems and health-related issues.

A “Priority 3” need can range from HVAC issues, to air conditioning rehabilitation, to furnace repair, to replacement of water heaters. “Priority 4” issues include: “Substantial roof problems” (such as a major roof leak), an unstable floor system, less pressing plumbing issues, and “additional safety concerns,” according to the housing authority web site.

There are income limits that determine whether a homeowner qualifies for a grant. Valentine said the annual income limits are $24,300 for a one-person household; $27,750 for a two-person family, and $34,650 for a family of four.

The home must be occupied by its owner, so renters do not qualify for the grants, according to Valentine. She added the homeowner must have homeowner insurance, have a source of income, and be no more than 30 days behind on mortgage payments.

Call (404) 362-1200, or visit the Clayton County Housing Authority, at 732 Main Street, in Forest Park, to get more information about applying for the grants.