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Monday, October 26th, 2009

Sources agency to administer local housing project grant

By Shelley Grieshop
Mercer County commissioners have tapped a local agency to help administer a half million dollar grant for housing assistance for the needy.
Commissioners last week approved a resolution to contract with Sources Community Network Services of Celina for assistance with the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP). Sources will screen clients for eligibility and provide fair housing information and counseling services at rates outlined in the contract with the county.
The $500,000 CHIP grant received by the county in September is aimed at rehabilitating eight owner-occupied homes, repairing an additional six owner-occupied homes, providing home ownership assistance to one household and emergency payment assistance to 100 households to prevent homelessness.
This year marks the seventh time the county received the competitive funding, which is applied for by the county's economic development agency. Counties can apply every two years for the money.
In 2007, the county helped rehabilitate 10 homes and repair 14. It also helped two families purchase homes and gave more than 80 others rent money to avoid eviction.
Sources' staff will accept applications and review them for eligibility. The agency has various contractors who the evaluate the clients' needs and the cost of each project. Work on the homes is bid out to various contractors, as is mandated by law for all government-funded programs.
Per agreement, Sources will invoice the county for reimbursement of staff expenses at $22.50 per hour and for supplies, materials and equipment expenses, at a maximum of $18,000.
Sources also will be reimbursed a maximum of $800 to provide/distribute fair housing information and a maximum of $600 (two clients at $300 each) for home buyer counseling.
Owners of rehabilitated homes and those given funding to purchase a home must eventually repay 20 percent of the funds allocated before the home can be sold or the owner dies. Interest is not charged.
The CHIP grants, which are administered through the Ohio Department of Development (ODD), this year totaled $32.4 million for 66 communities in Ohio. The grants will assist an estimated 2,531 Ohio households, including approximately 5,315 people, according to the ODD.
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