Of the Keizertimes

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

And there’s money to go around for single-family homeowners who meet the income guidelines. Thanks to old and new federal grants, the city of Keizer has some $421,000 for various housing rehabilitation repairs and upgrades through two federal programs. 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.

Loans are interest-free and repaid when the house is sold, the title is transferred or the use changes.

These are available to Keizer homeowners with low-to-moderate income as defined by the county’s median income. A one-person household income could not have exceeded $33,150 in 2011. For two people at least 18 years old, it’s $37,900. The owner must live in the home.

One application covers both programs, said Sam Litke, senior planner for the city of Keizer.

The Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments is under contract to administer the program on the city’s behalf. Their representatives will help find contractors, and final inspections will ensure money was spent properly on improvements that are up to code.

“It can be very friendly to people that qualify who might find getting money, certainly now, a challenge,” Litke said.

Maximum loans are $20,000. Other requirements: Taxes have to be paid up and the home must be insured.

The loan amount cannot exceed owner equity.

Litke said homeowners aren’t doing just themselves a favor when they get a grant.

“A new roof, for example, can have the impact of rising property values along a particular street,” Litke said. “There can be things that can be real noticeable that people can see.”

Some of the funds remain from a Community Block Grant in the 1990s, while the remainder comes from a federal stimulus program.