$300K still available through CHIP grant

Clark County has about $300,000 in grant money still available to repair and rehab homes that officials want to spend by year-end.

Clark County Community Development was awarded $400,000 in Community Housing Improvement Program funds in 2013 to improve 18 homes inhabited by low to moderate income residents. At least $100,000 of the money must be spent in the New Carlisle-Park Layne area, which was designated as the county’s targeted area.

But so far, officials have only completed nine home repairs and have plans to rehabilitate two, falling short of the goal.

David Fleck, grant coordinator for community development, said the goal is to repair 12 homes and rehabilitate six. He said officials need more residents to apply to receive assistance, especially those in the New Carlisle and Park Layne.

“We’ve been pretty open to applications for home repair throughout the county, but we really need to start dialing in on New Carlisle,” Fleck said.

Fleck said officials have done one repair and have not rehabbed any homes in the New Carlisle area.

Officials said residents should to contact community development as soon as possible.

CHIP is funded through the Ohio Department of Development, which communities can apply for every other year. The program helps low-income residents who in some cases, like health and safety hazards, could be forced to leave their homes if they do not get emergency assistance.

The program covers plumbing, roof repairs, lead based paint reduction and helps with other structural issues. People with disabilities who need ramps or have other accessibility needs can also receive assistance through the program, Fleck has said.

In 2015, the state will allocate approximately $20.4 million to eligible counties and cities, said Penny Martin, a spokeswoman for the state’s Office of Community Development.

In 2014, there was $26.8 million and in 2013, $25.6 million was available for the program, Martin said.

The $400,000 in program funds the county received in 2013 down from $492,800 it got in 2010. Officials are expected to apply for $300,000 in 2015.

The state has made changes to the program, structuring it to encourage communities to form partnerships and collaborate with other organizations to improve low- to moderate-income housing in their area, Martin said.

“Grant ceiling amounts range from $200,000 to $450,000 per community based on the community’s ability and/or willingness to partner,” Martin said.

Fleck said officials have partnered with Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield on some of the projects.

Tina Koumoutsos, executive director of NHP, said her organization has grants and loans to help with home repairs and rehabs. She said the funding from both community development and her organization help struggling families.

“Even though homes are really affordable in Springfield and Clark County, home maintenance can really be pricey and challenge a household budget,” she said. “If we’re going to maintain our housing stock and make sure its a good investment for the family and the neighborhood, we really need these supportive services.”

For more information about the CHIP grant, call 937-521-2160.

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