A meeting will be today at 2 p.m. in the borough hall conference room to outline this year's application requirements, Wolgemuth said.
This year, the low- and moderate-income standard set by the federal government is $30,150 and lower for individuals and $43,050 for a family of four, he said. By that standard, most of the central and southwestern parts of the borough would qualify for grant funding.
"It's a pretty lenient qualification number. It's not as stringent as some HUD guidelines," according to Wolgemuth. Overall, 48.6 percent of the borough's population of 17,662 is considered to fall into the low- and moderate-income categories. The highest concentration is within a census tract block group downtown where 79 percent of the 632 residents have low or moderate incomes.
"There is this stigma that low- to moderate-income means extremely low income," Wolgemuth said. "Really, the working family with several children may meet that income guideline."
There can also be a large difference in income within census tract block groups, he said. One that comprises much of the southwest portion of Chambersburg contains both a subsidized housing complex of more than 400 units, as well as more middle-class developments.
From 2000 to 2004, the borough received more than $1.3 million from the block grant program. More than $720,000 of that went into public facilities and improvements such as roads, handicapped accessibility and aid for nonprofit groups in purchasing or renovating buildings.
Housing programs received another $397,065, including $322,065 for Chambersburg's housing rehabilitation program for low-income homeowners, according to borough figures. Another $233,509 was allocated to public service programs, such as Building Our Pride In Chambersburg and the Chambersburg Hispanic-American Center.
Applications for grants have to be submitted to the borough by March 4 and applicants may give an overview of their projects at the March 14 council meeting. The council will hold a public hearing March 28, at which time it may approve projects for submission to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.