Rural residents of Jefferson County soon may have an opportunity to upgrade their homes without draining their bank accounts.
The Jefferson County Commission recently decided to apply for a 1993 Housing Rehabilitation Community Development Block Grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing.
Donna and Bill Crawford, owners of Governmental Assistance Services, are coordinating the project and writing the county's grant application.
Donna Crawford said the county will apply for the $300,000 grant with plans to distribute $100,000 in each of the three commission districts. The money would be used to help low- to moderate-income families buy homes, and to rehabilitate and demolish houses in poor condition. The housing assistance would pay for half the down payment on a house, up to 10 percent of the cost of the house.
"But they want to direct most of their attention to the rehabilitation of existing homes," said Crawford, adding that homes targeted for rehabilitation must be insured and have all property taxes paid.
REHABILITATION work would include roof repairs, electrical updating, heating, plumbing and sewer work, foundation stabilization and other work related to the health and safety of occupants.
Interested homeowners and renters can pick up pre-applications for grant money at the county clerk's office in the Jefferson County Courthouse between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Mondays or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. The pre-applications are due back to the county by May 14 and will be included in the grant application to demonstrate an interest in the project. If the county receives a grant, additional information will be needed from each applicant, Crawford said.
The county commission also will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. April 19 at the courtroom, located on the second floor of the courthouse, to discuss the grant application. Crawford said anyone interested in receiving money through the project should attend the meeting.
THE COUNTY'S application must be submitted to the state by June 7, and the CDBG housing rehabilitation grants will be awarded around July 19.
Crawford stressed that the county isn't required to provide matching funds for the $300,000 grant, which also covers grant administration costs. The only required services the grant doesn't cover are inspections and grantwriting, but Crawford said Jefferson County Economic Development has promised to pick up the tab for that work, which is estimated to cost $5,500.
Rex Rees, president of the economic development organization, said the grant money would contribute to the group's efforts to beautify the county, provide housing to residents, and create jobs.
"It fits right in to some of the things we're working on," he said.