March 18, 2014 03:11PM
By MICHAEL SOUZA
Sun Staff Writer
NORTH STONINGTON — Town officials are looking for residents who could use financial help in rehabilitating their homes. If there is enough interest, 0 percent interest loans could be made available to those that meet certain requirements.
At the request of the Affordable Housing Committee, First Selectman Nicholas Mullane is applying for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state, under the housing rehabilitation category for town-wide housing rehabilitation.
As part of the process, the town is looking for interested residents in order to develop a waiting list of property owners interested in participating in the program.
“I think it’s a very good program,” said Mullane at the March 11 Board of Selectman meeting. As of that day, four residents had expressed interest.
The money could be used to repair or replace failed furnaces, roofs, windows, and septic system repairs, carpentry, electrical work, painting, plumbing, heating, and other non-luxury work approved by the town. It can also be applied to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance repairs, such as ramps.
The grant would supply money for low and moderate income homeowners to make needed repairs to their homes.
Single homeowners must have an annual income that does not exceed $44,750 or a maximum of $51,150 for a household of two.
Money would also be available for owners of rental property to upgrade their units.
The 0 percent interest loan would eventually be repaid either by the homeowner or when the title to the house changes.
The grant would allow the town to establish a revolving loan fund to provide assistance to some residents who need home repair but cannot get a bank loan or do not have the money at hand.
The only setback is that the town must demonstrate there is a demand and need for the program and that residents would use it. Thus town officials are looking for immediate input from homeowners.
“Depending on what kind of work is done, the units will be deed-restricted so that they will count toward that 10 percent mandated for affordable housing,” said Senior Planning and Zoning Official Juliet Leeming. “Right now we are at 0.39 out of 10 percent, so this is a way of getting to that percentage while helping families in North Stonington.
“This is housing rehab for people that live here in town. If they meet the income threshold they can get some work done,” she said.
The same program has been run with great success in Groton, where six homes were repaired in 2011.
The town was awarded another $400,000 last year and plans to rehab 12 more homes.
Those considering using the program should contact Leeming at (860) 535-2877, ext. 27. The deadline for submitting a letter of interest is March 31.