The initiative Low and Moderate Income Housing Maintenance Assistance relates to the MAP Initiative 3: Strengthening Pride and Image, by making the community more attractive and giving residents a sense of control and pride over the appearance of their homes. This initiative was given a low priority level by the residents and students.
Why this is important
This initiative was created from input received at an Industry neighborhood community meeting where residents expressed a strong desire to maintain and enhance their homes but professed to being unable to do so financially.
This initiative serves to increase the pride that individual homeowners take in their homes as well as the pride in the neighborhood felt by the community as a whole. Additionally, the initiative acts to preserve home values and allow for the swift correction of any potentially hazardous flaws in the integrity of homes, increasing resident safety.
What this will involve
This initiative is relatively straightforward. Programs addressing this precise issue are already in place in dozens of cities of all sizes around the country. They are funded primarily through Community Development Block Grant funds (available to Muncie as an entitlement community) and run through the office of community development. Funds are generally dispersed as grants for small projects (ex: exterior painting) or as a low or no interest loan for larger projects (ex: a new roof).
HOME grants are also available to state and local governments, as well as housing development organizations. If the neighborhood (or larger area) were to form a community development corporation or housing development corporation, these funds may be available for use to fund a rehabilitation program.
Contact information for funding/assistance sources
Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
This initiative is suitable for the entire community. Individual participation in the program would, of course, be voluntary and funds are dispersed on a need basis. Many locales offer a sliding interest scale based on household income or separate terms into two groups (low and moderate income).
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids residents living in target areas are eligible for this program, provided they meet income restrictions, own their home, have insured their home, have lived in the home for more than one year, and are current on all taxes and/or fines owed to the city. This program is funded by federal CDBG funds and allows homeowners to borrow up to $24,000 for repairs and modifications to their homes. A sliding scale is used to determine interest charged and the homeowners expected ability to repay (based on credit score) is used to determine the total amount that borrower will be permitted.
Eligible work includes energy efficiency upgrades, emergency repairs (such a roof or furnace replacement), exterior repairs, repairs to equipment affecting the owners health and safety (railings, lifts, etc.), accessibility modifications, and lead paint or asbestos removal.
Interested owners fill out a city applications which is then either approved or denied. If approved, the city of Grand Rapids’ housing rehabilitation division staff will inspect the property and compose a comprehensive list of eligible projects. They then obtain a contractor for the work and provide several inspections throughout the process to ensure high quality work is completed.
The City of Odessa operates its housing rehabilitation program in a manner nearly identical to the City of Grand Rapids. There are, however, a few important differences.
The Odessa program involves applying to be put on a waiting list for funding. Should the application be accepted, no other step occurs until the home has reached the first position on the list. It then follows the Grand Rapids procedure.
Additionally, Odessa declares homeowners ineligible if they have been convicted of a felony within the last five years. Otherwise, the eligibility criteria are identical to those used by Grand Rapids.