Grant offers home repairs for needy

KINGMAN - The city is expecting $627,673 in state funding following an application in May of last year, and it wants to give this money away to those in need of home repairs.

In the spring of last year, the city of Kingman applied for the Community Development Block Grant, which in the past has been used to fund repairs to the Boys & Girls Club and the senior center.

Approximately $293,000 of the total $479,000 collected in 2002 also went toward the city's housing rehabilitation program.

Grants Administrator Bill Shilling said about 40 homes were repaired for low-income homeowners within the city limits.

"What we try to accomplish is improve the living conditions of the home for the applicants; make it safe, safe and sanitary," he said.

This year, with more than twice the amount in state funding going solely to the rehab program (because no other projects qualified for the grant money), Shilling hopes another 40 homes will receive some much needed repairs. "We'll probably do less homes but more rehab, more repairs per home," Shilling said.

Since 2002, the city has added two new phases to the program that now allow homeowners to receive up to $50,000 in moderate and substantial rehabilitation instead of just $15,000 in emergency repairs. The program is divided into three categories, and if applicants meet the income requirements and can show proof of home ownership, they can apply for whatever repairs they feel their homes need.

The first phase is the emergency grant of up to $15,000. The city hires private contractors to do the work, and when it is completed, no repayment is required and no leans are placed on the home.

Phase two allows from $15,001 to $30,000 in repairs. Once completed, the homeowner must sign a promissory note. To avoid immediate resale of the home, the city will now require homeowners to repay the loan amount if the house is sold in five years or less. Each year the repayment decreases by 20 percent, but after five years, the loan, which has no interest attached, expires. So as long as the house isn't sold within five years of the work, the homeowner does not pay a thing.

Phase three allows substantial repairs up to $50,000. A 10-year loan agreement must be signed.

Household income limits for eligible applicants range from $33,100 for one person to $47,300 for four people living in the same home.

The other requirements include showing proof of home ownership and living within city limits, although a target area in the downtown area takes priority over other areas within city limits, Shilling said.

Applications started being accepted Feb. 12. Shilling said he usually cuts off the acceptance period, but he may not this year. For more information, call Shilling at 753-8159. Applications can be picked up at the Planning & Zoning Department office at 310 N. Fourth St. downtown.