Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 26, 2014

County eyes grant for home repairs

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County commissioners will solicit public input about a program that offers discounted loans to local homeowners who want to fix up their houses.

The hearing, scheduled for tonight, is required before county officials finalize an application for a $250,000 grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which if accepted, will provide up to 10 households with cheap home repair loans.

Jean Derenzy, the county’s deputy director for planning and development, said the grant is intended to improve neighborhoods close to the “urban core” -- or downtowns -- of Michigan communities.

“We have a lot of housing studies that identify that homes do need repair, but financing those repairs can be difficult,” Derenzy said.

Loans under the program will be 50 percent forgiven in the first five years. The remaining half of the loan will be at zero percent interest with no installment payments, and with no debt due for 50 years or upon sale of the home.

Grand Traverse County’s grant application targets homes within the corner of Traverse City south of Eighth Street and west of Boardman Lake.

Derenzy said county officials notified homeowners in the grant-targeted zone about the loan opportunity. She said residents can send the county letters of interest, which strengthen the grant application by demonstrating a need for the money.

Total household income for interested applicants must fall within a range of at or below $35,150 for a single-person home, to at or below $54,200 for a five-person home.

Each house hold can receive as much as $40,000 from the grant, but homeowners must include a 25-percent funding match, Derezny said.

The public hearing is one of a handful of items commissioners will discuss during a meeting that starts at 7 p.m.

Other agenda items include final approval of a 911 surcharge increase for county residents, and a resolution to maintain commissioners’ salaries at current levels next year.