Committee continues to imrpve local homes through grant

Repairs on two township homes to total $39K

By:Lauren Davis
   BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP —The Township Committee continued to allocate funds from its Community Development Block Grant when it approved home repair loan applications from two homeowners at its Sept. 9 meeting.
   Repairs on the two township homes will total $39,085, which will be covered by grant funds.
   The township received a $74,000 grant for a home repair loan repayment program from the Burlington County Department of Community Development last October.
   Since then, two township homes have completed repair projects using $24,800 in grant funds.
   Township officials said in addition to the two applications at the committee meeting, two more applications were submitted on Monday night.
   "It’s been a very successful program and we’ve gotten a good response," said Township Administrator John Mason.
   Mr. Mason said low-income residents whose homes violate safety standards or need roof, window and other repairs benefit from the program.
   Homeowners receive a five-year loan through the township while grant money funds rehabilitation work on their homes.
   Completion of home repair projects is the result of cooperation between federal, county, and municipal governments.
   Every year, Burlington County applies to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for funding to improve the quality of residents’ lives, especially those with low incomes, said Ann Kline, community development director for Burlington County.
   The department then awards the county a grant based on its population.
   Last year, Ms. Kline said, the amount was about $2 million, to be used for public service, housing rehabilitation and other improvements
   Municipalities then submit an application for a housing rehabilitation loan grant to the county community development office.
   Bordentown Township’s 2001 application was approved and the township received $74,000 to fund repair projects for low-income homes.
   Mr. Mason said once the township receives the funds, it markets the program through senior club meetings, schools and community notices, targeting those who meet the income-eligibility standards.
   "The municipality markets the program and points the residents in the right direction," Mr. Mason said. "Then the county takes over the application and administration process."
   The application process includes a home inspection and three cost estimates for repairs, Ms. Kline said.
   If the county approves the application, the applicant must then apply for a loan through the township to proceed with repairs.
   If approved, grant money funds the repair project while applicants pay back the loan in affordable increments, as determined by county officials.
   At the end of five years, the township can decide to forgive the loan.
   Mr. Mason said the township plans to apply for grant money again to continue the program in the upcoming year.