Town of Roxbury residents can apply for home repair funds

More than $325,000 in grants available for eligible households

The Town of Roxbury has been awarded more than $325,000 in HUD housing rehabilitation funds from the Governor's Office for Small Cities. Any eligible Roxbury household (whose residents earn 80 percent or less of the median Delaware County area income) may apply for home repair funds for their primary residence.

Western Catskills Revitalization Corporation held a meeting about the program on Monday night in Roxbury and another public meeting will be held 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Grand Gorge Civic Center for anyone who would like to learn more.

Western Catskills in Stamford helped the Town of Roxbury apply for the grant and will be administering the program, helping homeowners complete applications and line up contractors for the work, and disbursing funds to homeowners and contractors. Construction Specialist Don Clark will review work plans and help homeowners ensure that work is completed satisfactorily. Western Catskills has application forms and a list of required documents ready for homeowners and will start accepting completed applications on January 14. The program runs for two years to allow two full construction seasons for work to be completed.

Priority will be given to eligible applicants with critical home repairs needed to eliminate health and safety hazards, such as:
- unsafe wiring and electrical fixtures
- leaking roof
- lead paint removal
- inadequate heating
- sub-standard plumbing or septic system
- inadequate or unsafe water supply
- rotting or unsafe flooring or stairs

Grant money can also be used to address accessibility issues: for example, an eligible homeowner could receive funds to have a handicapped accessible bathroom constructed.

Once high priority safety and code repairs are met, "priority two" needs, such as making a home more energy efficient with storm windows and insulation, will then take precedence over "priority three" repairs, which include painting, siding, and other jobs to improve a property's appearance.

The Town will set a limit on the maximum amount a homeowner can receive; it cannot exceed the federally set maximum of $25,000. Other eligibility requirements include household income limits (gross income figures apply) which range from $28,500 for a family of one to $53,700 for a family of 8 or more.

These grants require no match from the homeowner and homeowners may choose any contractor to bid on the work as long as he carries worker's compensation and liability insurance. Homeowners are not required to accept the lowest qualified bidder on their job; however, they would have to fund the difference if they prefer a contractor with a higher bid.

For homes that are more than 50 years old, proposed work must be reviewed by the NYS Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to ensure that repairs will not compromise the home's historic value. This may require, for example, that clapboard be repaired instead of being replaced with vinyl siding or that energy efficient windows only use vinyl on the interior side. These requirements would only apply to housing that SHPO determines to have historic value. Grants can only be used on living quarters, not barns or other exterior structures such as garages or driveways. Funds can be used to fix drainage and water problems that affect a home, such as digging a new well or putting in a septic system.

Anyone with a primary residence in Roxbury (which includes Denver-Vega and Grand Gorge) who thinks they may be eligible and would like to learn more should contact Linda Stratigos at Western Catskills Revitalization Corp. (607 652-2823).