St. C. offers home improvement help | News, Sports, Jobs

st. CLAIRSVILLE — City residents in need of assistance with home repairs have access to some funding provided by the city.

Planning and Zoning Director Tom Murphy reminds residents that Community Housing Impact Preservation funding is available. It is administered through the Belomar Regional Council.

“Anyone who is interested and wants to make improvements to their home, they can apply for those funds but they must be used for home rehabilitation and home repair projects,” Murphy said, adding the home must be private and there are income guidelines.

Natalie Hamilton, director of community development with Belomar, said this is unused money in the city’s revolving loan fund.

Murphy said funds were limited.

“The city has in the program over $100,000 and each project is looked at individually,” Murphy said, adding this could be sufficient for two or three applicants. “These are grant funds that would be forgiven, so it’s a great benefit to the residents if they meet the criteria and it’s a great benefit to the city and the homeowner.”

Murphy hopes to spread word of the opportunity.

“We have difficulty having people apply,” Murphy said. “We want to see the funds utilized.”

Hamilton elaborated on income tips.

“You have to be at or below 80 percent of the median income area for the Wheeling/Ohio (area),” Hamilton said.

She said the money comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is based on the earnings per household size.

“One person, as long as you make at or below $41,000 per year, you would be eligible, and then for two people it’s $46,850.

Murphy said many could apply.

“Elderly people might meet that income criterion, or young families who own their home. It does have to be private-owner occupied,” Murphy said.

“It’s a first-come, first-serve basis so when the money runs out, it’s gone. Just because someone applies doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to get it,” Murphy said.

“When they apply through Belomar, Belomar will meet at the house, they’ll go over everything to see if it’s eligible. Once they determine they are eligible, Belomar will look to hire a contractor who will do a kind of work,” Murphy said. “Like any renovation you do to your own home, it’s going to take time.”

Hamilton said sooner is better for applicants.

“There is a budget of around $60,000 per home,” Hamilton said. “We kind of go in and do our preliminary inspection to see if the repairs needed would be within the budget.”

She said it could be as long as a year between the initial application and beginning the work.

“We only have a few contractors who are willing to do this work, so it can take quite a long time and we can only help so many people. It is a competitive program,” Hamilton said. “Last year we were able to help do eight full rehabs and 15 repairs throughout Belmont County.”

Interested homeowners can call Belomar at 304-242-1800 or Murphy at 740-695-1953.

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