Low-income homeowners residing inside the county and the city of New Tazewell will have the opportunity to apply for funding to repair that leaky roof or fix those wobbly steps.
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) allocated $250,000 to each of the two governmental entities. The funds will be used to help 11 Claiborne and seven New Tazewell homeowners rehabilitate their abodes.
“These funds are so desperately needed. The need far outweighs the money, but we’ll take it,” said Robin Mason, director of Claiborne Economic & Community Development.
This is the first time in four years that county government has been approved for the funds, she said.
“I can’t wait to get started. This is going to be a real blessing for homeowners who routinely have to make the difficult decision between putting food on the table, keeping the lights on or making that much-needed repair on their home,” said Mason.
Once the application is approved and the home assessment made by THDA, the job will bid out to local contractors, she said.
New Tazewell Mayor Jerry Beeler said this marks the first time in several years that the city has been approved for the federal funding.
“This is going to benefit people who really need a leg-up. To me, it’s our job (the city officials) to help our citizens and see that everyone has a safe place to live in,” said Beeler.
The THDA HOME block grant is devoted solely to helping low-income homeowners and is the largest grant of its kind. Individual grantees can use its flexible guidelines to implement a program targeted specifically to the needs and priorities of each locality.
Since 1992, over $300 million in HOME grant monies have been used to construct or rehabilitate over 10,500 affordable housing units. Some 66 percent of those funds were earmarked for owner-occupied rehabilitations. About half, or 33 percent, of the money went to assisting the elderly low-income population in repairing their homes.
During fiscal year 2012-13, THDA received 112 applications requesting over $52 million in help. The Agency received $15.25 million for allocation.
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency is a self-sufficient, independently funded and publicly accountable entity of the state.
For those living inside the county, you may call Mason at 423-626-5236 for more information.
New Tazewell residents may call City Hall at 423-626-5242.
For additional information, you may call Sherry Trent, director of Housing Programs with First Tennessee Development District, at 423-722-5101.
Jan Runions may be reached at 423-626-3222 or Twitter @scribeCP.