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Archive for Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lawrence to help qualified homeowners make repairs

January 6, 2008

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Comprehensive Rehabilitation loans

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on Feb. 15. Loan applications are available in the Development Services Offices at 1 Riverfront Plaza, Level 1, Suite 110 or on the Web. For information, call 832-7700.

The city of Lawrence has money available for residents who need help making necessary home repairs.

Up to $25,000 per homeowner is available to qualifying residents through the Comprehensive Rehabilitation loan program administered by the city.

"It's designed to help low-income families stay in their homes, maintain their homes," said Tony Hoch, projects specialist for the city's development services.

Hoch said the city has about $250,000 available for a year, a sum that could be used to benefit 10 homeowners annually.

The program issues no-interest loans to qualified homeowners. The longer a homeowner stays in the home, the higher the amount forgiven. Those who stay in their home seven years receive the maximum of 50 percent loan forgiveness.

There are several terms to the program, including an income eligibility requirement. Income eligibility requires, for example, that a family of two have an annual gross income of no more than $41,400.

Loan repayments are used to assist a new group of homeowners. The program, funded through the Community Development Block Grant, has been offered in the city since the late 1970s and benefited more than 300 homeowners, Hoch said.

Rebecca Buford, executive director of Tenants to Homeowners, said there is a growing need for such programs in Lawrence where there is a high number of older homes and the housing market has appreciated in recent years. She said these factors can pinch various demographics, such as the elderly who cannot afford needed renovations but also can't afford to move.

"With the housing prices having increased over time, it's not like they can go buy something else," she said. "This is actually keeping them in housing and that's the important part."

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