Cheshire grant program helps needy residents make costly home repairs

Cheshire grant program helps needy residents make costly home repairs

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CHESHIRE — The Town Council voted in favor of a state grant program that’s already underway providing money for home safety and health improvements.

Cheshire received the $400,000 grant last year from the state Department of Housing. Last week the council unanimously approved a redrafting and rewording of the approval as required by the state.

Sylvia Nichols, a Republican councilor, said 28 residents applied for loans and 12 were approved. Four of those projects have been completed and three were underway this month.

“We expect to expend the entire $400,000 before the time period is over,” she said.

The grant is intended to help residents who can't afford critical repairs. Often the grant funds roof or heating system replacements, plumbing repairs and new windows or doors.

“So far it has been successfully received,” said Rob Oris, council chairman and a Republican. “We’ve had a number of people take advantage of that. I know there are more coming.”

Lisa Low, an Oxford consultant, wrote the grant application and administers the program. Low said recipients must be up to date on taxes and have at least 10 percent equity in their homes.

Maryann McAuliffe, an administrator for rehabilitation specialists with the company, said she couldn’t disclose who received the grants but said at least one of the four completed projects was emergency heating work.

In addition to repairing plumbing systems and roofs, the loans can also be used to bring house systems up to code.

“The whole object of the program is to make the home safe, to prevent blight,” McAuliffe said.

Homeowners are eligible if they make no more than 80 percent of the area's median income. Each project is capped at $30,000.

The income limits range from $65,700 for a family of four and $46,000 for a single person. The loan runs for two years and usually can fund 11 to 13 projects for homeowners. “It depends on the size of the project,” McAuliffe said. Loans are due upon the sale of the home.

Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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