By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A housing rehabilitation program – which laid dormant for almost a decade – is being revitalized.

Some funds from a 1995 Oregon Community Block Grant for no-interest housing rehabilitation loans still remain in city coffers – currently about $314,000, thanks to interest proceeds and loan paybacks.

A Eugene company had managed the city’s program until 2001, when the city took over. The city has yet to issue a loan since then.

“It’s a combination of a lack of publicity and also time by staff to manage the program,” said Kevin Watson, assistant to the city manager. “It requires a lot of staff time to administer and review applications.”

The program is available to Keizer homeowners with low-to-moderate income as defined by the county’s median income. For 2009, a one-person household income can’t exceed $32,600. For two people, it’s $37,250.

Loans are interest-free and repaid when the house is sold or when the last surviving borrower dies. Maximum loans are $20,000.

“It’s an opportunity for … homeowners to fix up their homes for no cost,” Watson said. “… The idea being they’ll increase the value of the home so that when they sell the house they’re obviously going to make more money on it because it’s an improved house.”

Eligible projects would include basic structural repairs like roofs and gutters, dry rot, plumbing, heating systems or weatherization. They must meet standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Watson wants to combine the program with some $138,500 the city is seeking in Energy Efficiency Community Development Block Grant funds. Watson said the same homeowners would be eligible for both programs.

“If you’re weatherizing, you can use the energy efficiency program to change your windows, and also fix your roof with the housing rehab program,” Watson said

For more information call Watson at 503-390-3700.