Grant money sought for housing rehabilitation

February 27, 1998


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Housing rehabilitation is a program proposed for funding by Chambersburg in its 1998 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program.

The borough wants $70,000 for the program, according to the allocation plan reviewed at a public hearing Wednesday night by borough Planner Gary Norris.

Norris said 39 homeowners are on the waiting list for a low-income, owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program. The program provides grants and loans for qualified homeowners and has helped pay to fix up about 50 houses over the past 18 months.


According to Norris, the first $5,000 is an outright grant, with no-interest and low-interest loans available for more extensive renovations. He said the average renovation costs about $10,000.

The borough also is proposing $70,000 for the acquisition and demolition of vacant buildings. Norris said cleared lots in blighted neighborhoods would be donated or sold at nominal fees to a qualified organization to build new owner-occupied, low- to moderate-income housing.

One such group is Habitat for Humanity. According to Norris, that group wants $40,000 for the purchase of two lots on which to build homes.

The Borough Council will decide on March 17 how the $247,000 in federal block grant funds will be allocated. The requests reviewed Wednesday totaled $423,000, according to borough Secretary Tanya Mickey.

The planning and zoning commission has come up with its recommendations, which fall below all 12 funding requests.

The commission, for example, is proposing $63,800 for housing rehabilitation and $58,500 for building acquisition and demolition. It would cut Habitat's request to $25,400.

Other requests include:

* The borough recreation department wants $20,000 to make the recreation center more handicapped-accessible.

* Building Our Pride in Chambersburg Inc. is asking for $50,000 toward construction of a multipurpose building at the intersection of Hollywell Avenue and Industrial Drive.

* The Chambersburg Community Improvement Association wants $50,000 to expand its building at 566 S. Main St.

* Members of the Hispanic community want $15,000 to help establish a Hispanic-American Center in the borough, according to Mickey.

* New Visions, which serves adults with chronic mental illness, requested $40,500 to expand its building at 152 S. Second St.

* The First United Methodist Church is asking for $34,000 for a transitional housing program. The program would provide temporary housing for people no longer eligible to stay in the Franklin County Shelter for the Homeless.

* Downtown Chambersburg Inc. has requested $25,000 for the continuing renovation of the Capitol Theatre.

* The YMCA wants $8,600 for new programs.

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