The city of Springfield is now offering zero-interest loans to residents who are looking to make exterior improvements to their properties.
The program will be available to owner-occupants of single-family homes who want to install new windows, vinyl siding or related treatment, such as soffits, Springfield Housing Rehabilitation Coordinator Ed Leinasars said.
“We want to make them a little bit more maintenance free,” he said.
Springfield recently concluded a three-year, $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make repairs to homes with lead-based paint, Leinasars said. The money from the program is now available for the city to offer to residents to make other improvements surrounding lead, he said.
“The predominant problem with lead is on the exterior windows and the outside of the house,” Leinasars said.
The Springfield City Commission recently authorized up to $100,000 in money for the program. A person can be approved for a zero-interest loan of up to $10,000 over 10 years, Leinasars said. The income limits have also been bumped up to about 120 percent of the area median income, adjusted for family size, he said. The reduction could increase the range of potential program users, Leinasars said.
“We’re trying to see what kind of interest we get in the program from the community,” Leinasars said. “We’re trying to make it affordable for folks to consider doing things on the outside of their house.”
The city previously operated a paintbrush program, which included windows and siding, Leinasars said. Springfield has moved away from the painting aspect because it didn’t last very long, he said. The program was also funded through federal grant money, which was used for other programs, he said.
“As money got tight, we tabled the program,” Leinasars said.
New windows and siding can make a dramatic impact on the appearance of a property, he said. It can also help improve energy costs, especially for people with older homes, he said.
“It’s a stark difference between what you may look like now and what you could look like,” Leinasars said. “We’re trying to make an impact on some areas, but it’s just a matter of who’s going to come forward.”
Applications will be accepted through July 31. For more information on the program, call the Springfield Community Development Department at 937-324-7380.
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