LAKE PLACID — The town of North Elba is applying for federal funding to create a housing repair assistance program that would grant loans to local homeowners for home repairs they normally wouldn’t be able to afford.
The town plans to apply for up to $500,000 in funding for the program, which would be open to both town and village residents, according to Community Development Director Haley Breen.
A public hearing on the program will be held on Oct. 12 at 5 p.m., and the town plans to submit its application for the program by Oct. 29. If the application is accepted, there will be a second public hearing to announce the program’s details.
The program would be funded through the state’s Community Development Block Grant program.
Essex County already has a similar housing program in place, the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County, but the program is out of funds, according to Breen. Breen is working on the town’s grant application alongside the HAPEC’s community development director, Angel Marvin, who worked on a similar grant application in Hamilton County. Residents of the village and town who are waitlisted for HAPEC funds will have an opportunity to apply for the North Elba program.
Single-family homeowners who make less than 80% of the area’s average income, which varies depending on the size of the household, would be eligible for the town’s program. For example, a two-person household would have to make less than $46,350 a year to qualify, and a four-person household would have to make less than $57,900 a year to qualify.
Landlords could also apply, but to be eligible at least 51% of their units would have to contain households that make less than 80% of the AAI.
The town’s loan would span across five years for each household. As long as homeowners don’t move out in those five years, they won’t be responsible for interest charges or monthly payments, and they won’t owe any money at the end of that period. If a homeowner moves before the five year loan period ends, they may be responsible for paying back a portion of the loan. As soon as the five years are up, a homeowner can move out, according to Breen.
Eligible homeowners could use the loans to repair heating, electrical and plumbing issues, water lines and well pumps, roofs and gutters, chimneys and foundations, insulation, and necessary room additions in overcrowded homes.
Cosmetic fixes like wallpaper, decorative fixtures, driveways and walkways won’t be eligible for funding. Right now, mobile homeowners aren’t eligible to apply for repair assistance.
Breen said that if the town’s application for the grant is accepted, her office would collaborate with HAPEC to review applications, but she’s not sure when the funds would be granted or distributed.