02/17/05 — Four families to get better homes through block grant

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Four families to get better homes through block grant

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 17, 2005 2:13 PM

Four Wayne County families living in substandard housing may soon live in a better home, if the county gets the federal funding it expects.

The county is eligible for $400,000 in scattered-site housing grants, once it finds participants that meet the requirements of the grants.

County Commissioners voted Tuesday to apply for the Community Development Block Grant, after holding a public hearing.

Last month representatives from Mount Olive, Fremont, and Pikeville met with County Manager Lee Smith and David Harris, a consultant hired to manage the grant program for the county. Goldsboro wasn't eligible to participate because it receives its funds directly from the federal government.

From 100 applications, the group eventually chose four families in the most need of help.

"We had to look at those in the greatest need, that were in a house not fit to live in," Harris said. "We're hoping to take care of those."

Frame-built houses that are dilapidated and beyond repair represent the greatest housing need in the county, Harris said.

The maximum allowed income level for grant recipients is 50 percent of median household income, based on the number of people in the household.

The group whittled the number down to four families, dispersed throughout the county.

Two of the houses are in the Mount Olive area, one is in Pikeville, and one is on New Hope Road, near Besten Road.

Harris said that the money would be used not only to build new houses for the people, but could include hooking families up to water and sewer systems, where possible. For those houses not able to hook up to sewer, he said they would evaluate the septic system.