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Residents urged to seek portion of federal HOME grant money

Published July 21. 2010 05:00PM

Rush Township residents are encouraged to apply for a portion of the $330,000 home-improvement grant for which the township plans to apply.

The federal HOME grant, distributed through the state Department of Community and Economic Development, would start a housing rehabilitation program in the township. The program would offer repairs to low-income homeowners.

The township has applied for and received $20,000 through the Schuylkill County Community Action to to use as leverage for the federal grant application. Supervisor Steve Simchak said Rush was the sole municipality of 10-12 applicants to be awarded the money.

At a public hearing on the program held Tuesday, consultant Ron Dillman of ProDesign Plus PC, Frackville, said homeowners must own and occupy the home to be rehabilitated for at least one year and meet the income guidelines. According to the guidelines, a family of four must bring in no more than $43,300 in annual income to qualify. A single person cannot make more than $30,350. He said the income limits often change, so people who believe they are close to the guidelines should apply.

The rehabilitation funds, in the form of grants and no-interest loans, are awarded through a lottery. The applications will be placed in unmarked envelopes and drawn from a box at a public meeting, Dillman said.

The loans would be forgiven after four years, promising the homeowner continues to live in the house that was rehabilitated. However, if the property changes hands, the balance must be repaid to the township.

Residents on Tuesday questioned the program, and Dillman said no township money would be used for the loans or grants.

Applications are available at the township building, at 104 Mahanoy Ave. (Route 54).

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