Financial Assistance for Home Rehabilitation
The Federal Department of Community and housing development has financial assistance available in the form of grants and low interest loans to homeowners who have failed septic systems, no indoor bathroom or no potable water in their homes. I spoke with Kenneth Rodgers, who isa rural housing specialist with the southeast rural community Assistance Project, often referred to as SERCAP. Mr. Rodgers administers the Indoor Plumbing and Rehabilitation program, also known as the IPR program. I asked Mr. Rodgers to give me an overview.
Once you fit the requirements and we can come in and do a lot more repairs or renovations to the home. So even though you may have a failed septic system or no indoor bathroom, we’re going to come in and bring the whole house up to HUD quality standards. So we’re going to come in we’re going to put in GFIs, we’re going to do aging-in-place, adding ramps, widening doorways and, in some cases if the house is too far gone or to deteriorated, build a new house.
What are the eligibility requirements for a homeowner to qualify under the IPR program?
Financially, they have to be at or below 80% of the median income for the family based on the HUD income data. Of course, they have to own the home and have to live in the home for a year and they have to have all the taxes paid, and they will have to have insurance.
What is the process for a homeowner to qualify?
Once we can get the homeowner involved, we would discuss with them and they of course, it’s a government funded program, we have to get all the application process taken care of. And in that application process, of course, fill out an application, provide us with documentation of the income and their expenses and all money coming into the home, the household makeup, the number of children, that are disabled, elderly. We’ll have to get all that information from them as part of the IPR program. Now, I will come out or me or some of our other rural housing specialists will come out and inspect the entire home and with that inspection will follow the HUD quality standards form, which is the form that we use for every house, that we’re checking every house for the same thing, and we find out what deficiencies show up when we do that inspection form. And then we do like to determine what we need to fix in the house along with the bathroom and the well and the septic system, whatever needs to be done.
It’s my understanding that the financial assistance provided under this program is a loan, but in most cases it is a loan that doesn’t have to be paid back. Can you explain that?
Yes, that is correct. Currently, the program has no payback. That was a decision that the Department of Housing and Community Development made a few years ago where if you qualify, there is a calculation that we do this the ability to pay, so that even though someone may be a low to moderate income homeowner, we will still have to do with what’s called the ability to pay. It may require, may have a requirement that they might have to pay back something, but we’ve not had any instances like that so far. Whatever they will do, it will be a based on their ability to pay if they should have to pay anything at all. And it’s 120 schedule payments of course, and what happens, as they would make one of the scheduled payments, the balance would be forgiven each month.
Mr. Rodgers also mentioned that a deed of trust is required if a loan is made, and he urges homeowners to not let that stop them from pursuing one of these forgivable loans. Residents in Pocahontas, Bath and Highland Counties have different organizations and points of contact based on their geographic locations. Full contact information can be found at the end of the transcript of this story on our website, alleghenymountainradio.org.
In part two of this story, we’ll hear from Sam Sarmadi, who administers a second program for homeowners who may not meet the eligibility requirements for the IPR program discussed in this story. This is Mickey Frank Thomas for Allegheny Mountain Radio.
Rural Community Assistance Program
Points of Contact
Highland County Homeowners
Southeast Regional Community Action Program (Roanoke, VA) – (540) 345-1184
Bath County Homeowners
Total Action for Progress (Roanoke, VA) – (540) 777-4673
Pocahontas County Homeowners
West Virginia RCAP (Dry Fork, WV)
– (304) 866-4260