Programs helps home rehab
Douglas County has options to help low- to moderate-income homeowners make repairs to their houses. Whether you need a new furnace, siding, roof, septic system or other repairs, a 0 percent interest loan, deferred until the property is transferre...
Douglas County has options to help low- to moderate-income homeowners make repairs to their houses.
Whether you need a new furnace, siding, roof, septic system or other repairs, a 0 percent interest loan, deferred until the property is transferred to new ownership, is available to help with needed repairs.
The revolving loan fund is available because of Community Development Block Grant funds made available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Douglas County is part of a 10-county consortium eligible for the loans, according to Steve Rannenberg, Douglas County zoning and planning director.
Low- to moderate income residents in Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor and Washburn counties are eligible for the Housing Rehabilitation Program. In addition, Emergency Assistance Program funds are available for qualifying residents in Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Washburn counties if their homes were damaged by flooding and wind storms starting July 11. Emergency funds are awarded as a grant, not a loan.
The program offers the deferred loans for a wide spectrum of repairs, Rannenberg said.
Rehabilitation dollars can be used for roofing, siding, heating, electrical, insulation, foundation, windows and doors, sewer and water laterals, and handicap accessibility projects such as ramps, grab bars, accessible showers, wider doorways and hallways, and installation of door handles to replace door knobs.
"There is no payment required until the home is transferred" such as at the time of sale, Rannenberg said. "Presumably, by virtue of the fact that improvements have been made to the house, equity has increased or the value of the home is increased."
Douglas County stepped up to be the lead county in the 10-county area, and handles payment of contractors who do the work in the region.
Northwest Regional Planning handles the administration of the program, accepting applications, meet with the property owner on site and determine the work to be done and developing a plan to determine what can and cannot be done within the loan program guidelines.
Purely cosmetic alterations with premium building products are typically not eligible for the rehabilitation program.
Rannenberg said the application process is fairly detailed, but once approved, the homeowner works with the contractor to accomplish the plan. Once completed, Northwest Regional Planning verifies the work has been done to the property owner's satisfaction, and the contractor can submit a request for reimbursement, which is then paid by Douglas County with available CDBG funds.
The program isn't restricted to homeowners; however, and landlords who rent their property to low- to moderate-income people at an affordable rate, can use the program to make necessary repairs, Rannenberg said.
It's a very similar program, he said. However landlords are required to make monthly payments on the loan and must agree to rent to low- to moderate-income people.
But the program also helps people who want to own a home with down payment and closing cost assistance. Like the rehabilitation loans, the program offers 0 percent deferrable loans to prospective homebuyers with the loans due at the time of sale or transfer.
Unfortunately, Rannenberg said, Douglas County residents are lagging behind the other nine counties in taking advantage of the program. In fact, according to the last quarterly report, only 11 people in Douglas County, with nearly three times the population of the other counties, took advantage of the available money, compared to 19 in Ashland County, 16 in Burnett County, 13 in Iron County - the least populous in the consortium - 12 in Price County, 16 in Rusk County, 21 in Sawyer County and 30 in Washburn County.
The only community in the 10-county area not eligible for the Housing Rehabilitation Program is the city of Superior, which is an entitlement community for CDBG funds.
"We have another fund that's called Northwest Affordable Housing ... to help people with home repairs in Superior," said Kim Gifford of Northwest Regional Planning, which administers all the programs. She said just like the regional Housing Rehabilitation Program, it offers 0 percent deferred loans and down-payment assistance to low- to moderate-income homeowners and home buyers. She said Northwest Regional Planning is working with the city to administer HOME and Hickory funds for housing rehabilitation.
Northwest Regional Planning administers the programs. For more information, call 715-635-2197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .