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Sun., Oct. 26
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Village receives grant for housing rehabilitation

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MASSENA - For the second consecutive year, the village’s housing rehabilitation office has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the New York state HOME Program to address heating and safety issues in low-income homes.

The village is currently accepting applications from low-income homeowners and landlords who wish to address potential violations to the village’s building, safety and emergency codes. The current grant covers the entire village.

Each homeowner is eligible for $25,000 in grant funding to cover 100 percent of their home improvements, provided that they live in the home for five years after the repairs are made.

Landlords who do not live in the property must pay 25 percent of all renovation costs, up to $25,000 per unit ($6,250 of which is the landlord’s contribution). The funding is also used for energy audits and radon testing at area homes. Landlords must also own their homes for 10 years after the repairs are made.

The village received a similar grant last year. So far that money has been used to rehabilitate five homes, and five others have either been approved or are awaiting approval for utilization of the grant funds, Housing Rehabilition Administrator Peter Devine said.

“Every person we’ve worked for is very grateful that there’s a grant for people who want to have nice homes, but are in a financial situation and can’t afford (the maintenance),” Mr. Devine said.

Issues the grants seek to address include the presence of lead-based paints, an absence of smoke alarms, doors that are loose or won’t open properly, electric panel boxes that aren’t up to code and poor insulation. Once the code violations have been corrected, the remainder of the $25,000 may be utilized for cosmetic improvements. Mr. Devine said the differences between the homes before and after the projects are often startling. “The (difference in) quality is unbelievable,” Mr. Devine said.

In addition to addressing code violations and improving the quality of the homes, the grant money is also utilized to install envionmentally-friendly features within the house, such as carpeting made from recyclables and a tankless water heater, which also results in a 37 to 38 percent savings on the cost of heating water, Mr. Devine said.

Those interested in utilizing the grant funding should go to the building office in the Massena Town Hall and fill out an application. Under ideal circumstances, an application would take 30 days to process, 45 days for work to begin and 120 days for the work to be completed, Mr. Devine said.

For more information and income eligibility guidelines, Mr. Devine can be reached at the village offices at 769-6803.

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