Media Archive

D-F housing grant to run through March

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 42, October 20, 2004
Program includes towns of Sangerville, Sebec and Atkinson

DOVER-FOXCROFT The Town of Dover-Foxcroft submitted an application in 2003 to continue efforts to upgrade single-family homes owned and occupied by income-eligible residents. The current program projected that up to 30 homes would receive assistance through this program. This number has already been exceeded and the program now anticipates completing work to 35 homes.

Dover received $300,000, which was maximum amount for grants awarded in 2003.

The current program has been extended until March 31, 2005 to allow time to complete the remaining approved projects.

The program includes the communities of Dover-Foxcroft, Sangerville, Sebec, and Atkinson. No specific portion of the grant funds are allocated to any of the participating towns, rather the applications are evaluated and prioritized on the basis of need.

Homeowner application process

The application process is very easy. A short form is available at the Dover, Sangerville, and Atkinson Town Offices or by calling the Community Development office at 1-800-648-8335.

If anyone requires assistance completing the application, the firm administering the program will go to their home. Applicants must provide verification of household income and a copy of their deed. The application process has gone very smoothly.

Homeowners mail their completed application directly to the Community Development office. This procedure provides anonymity for residents applying for assistance based on income. As with previous programs, we are still encouraging applications although funding is very limited at this time. If we are able to demonstrate continued need,
it will enhance our chances for additional CDBG housing grants.

What are the income requirements?

In order to be eligible, household income may not exceed the limits Applications are not selected on a first come, first served basis but are carefully considered by a Review Committee comprised of residents of the participating towns. Considerations include such factors as age, severity of
need, handicaps, length of ownership, etc. This program has had a very dedicated committee with several members serving since the first program in 1993.

Types of Improvements completed

This program has replaced seven failed septic systems and several unsafe heating systems. Handicap ramps and bathroom improvements were undertaken to five properties. A total of 24 of the families assisted have a household member with a disability. Other improvements include replacement windows and doors t most of the homes to
increase energy efficiency. More than half (18) of the residents receiving assistance through this program are elderly. If improvements are made to the building we make certain it meets minimum housing standards upon
completion.

Lead Testing

Most properties receiving assistance were built prior to 1978 and require contractors to be certified and employ lead-safe practices when working on homes. In addition, Ron Harriman Associates provides information to all
homeowners and completes lead testing of surfaces upon completion of the work.

These samples are analyzed and a report issued to confirm safe levels in the home.

Participating contractors and vendors

The CDBG housing program uses small area contractors and encourages use of local suppliers. The quality of work has been very good on each project. All work is inspected prior to release of funds. A mandatory pre-bid inspection is held on each project to review the details with contractors and to involve the homeowners. No changes are undertaken without a signed change order. All general contractors must be lead certified and carry acceptable levels of insurance. These housing programs have provided much steady work for area contractors.

Next funding cycle for housing grants

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) anticipates that HUD funding of the CDBG program will remain about the same. Present funding allows approximately eight programs per year. DECD now accepts housing applications on an every-other-year cycle, therefore, Dover can submit a new application for the 2006 round. I expect the deadline to be late in 2005. In order to apply, the Board of Selectmen should make a decision by spring of 2005. Additional scoring points are available to applicants who have completed a comprehensive housing assessment. This document was completed for Dover in 2001 and a supplement prepared in 2003.

Unmet need

We have received 83 applications for the current program and expect to complete work to at least 35. This will leave over 30 eligible families on the waiting list. Some of the 83 have been determined ineligible.

For more information, contact grant administrator Ron Harriman of Ron Harriman Associates at 1-800-648-8335.


NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.