10/15/08 — County seeking housing rehab grant

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County seeking housing rehab grant

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 15, 2008 1:46 PM

A $400,000 housing rehabilitation grant is being sought by Wayne County to complement its ongoing efforts to improve housing in the county.

Commissioners last week instructed David Harris, the county's Community Development Block Grant project director, to proceed with a grant application through the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.

No county contribution is required.

Harris, of RSM Harris Associates, also was at the meeting for a public hearing on a budget adjustment for the county's ongoing 2006 CDBG project in the Cobb-Coley community at Dudley.

The $400,000 Single Family Rehabilitation project the county is applying for is different than CDBG funds, Harris said, in that it targets owner-occupied, single-family homes with a household income of below 80 percent of median income and with at least one elderly or handicapped occupant who is eligible for assistance.

The grant funds may be used for administration, legal and other necessary services.

Between $5,000 and $48,000 can be spent per house.

"It is for housing rehabilitation only," Harris said. "It is considered moderate rehab. In CDBG we do the worst of the worst. The N.C. Housing Finance Agency is looking at strictly rehabilitation.

"What this will allow the county to do is get in another segment of your housing needs through repair hopefully preventing the house from getting so bad that you wind up replacing them under your CDBG program. The two (grants) will complement each other."

Harris recommended the county apply for the funds since it still has applications from families with housing rehabilitation needs that the county housing program is not able to address.

No one spoke at the brief public hearing on the CDBG budget amendment for the county's scattered-site housing project.

Harris told commissioners the hearing was required because the funds being transferred totaled more than 10 percent of the $700,000 grant amount. There is no change in the grant amount or the county's $40,000 match, he said.

The grant includes a local option project. However, no family was designated for assistance through those funds.

"Considering the fact that this application was submitted in December 2004 and funds were not released by the state until March 2007, it was only prudent to delay obligating the local option funds and use them where needed in the Cobb-Coley project area," Harris said.

"We will be able to compete all the projects", he said.