Kerkhoven and DeGraff Home Repair Program News
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
UPDATED: If interested in learning more or participating in the Home Repair Program continue to read this article for more information.
This past fall, the cities of Kerkhoven and DeGraff worked with Swift County RDA and HRA to apply for the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Small Cities Development program (SCDP). If funded, this program could provide Kerkhoven and DeGraff homeowners with grants to make home repairs.
SCDP is funded by federal funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Program. The goal of the SCDP is to develop viable eligible communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income.
In December, Swift County RDA was notified that the Kerkhoven and DeGraff initial application was reviewed by DEED and deemed competitive enough for the communities to make a final application. The joint preliminary application included three proposed activities: single-family, owner-occupied home rehab, Community Commercial Building Rehab, and Center/Community Facilities (Kerkhoven only).
The Home Owner Rehabilitation was considered “solid and competitive” but unfortunately the other areas of the application did not fare as well. Kerkhoven’s Community Center activity was deemed ineligible due to the City office(s) being housed there, and the Commercial Rehab component was judged as non-competitive due to lack of interest by building owners.
Jenn Frost, Swift County RDA, met with Kerkhoven and DeGraff City Councils on Monday, to discuss next steps needed to submit a final application. These will include a Resolution to authorize the full application, joint agreement between Kerkhoven and DeGraff, and a call for a public meeting.
Dates for Public Meetings are: Kerkhoven on January 22nd at 6:00 pm in the Community Center, and DeGraff on February 5th at 5:00 pm, at the DeGraff Community Center. Interested community members are encouraged to attend. For more information see the Citizen Participation Plan here. To learn more about How the Program Works or to get on the waiting list to participate you must complete an Intent to Participate Form. You can find that online here, just print and return to the City or Swift County HRA at PO Box 207 Benson, MN 56215. Or contact Vicki Syverson at Swift County HRA at 320-843-4676 to receive a copy in the mail. Forms may also submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To be most competitive, Frost recommended the communities heed DEED’s advice and apply for grant funds for only the single-family, home owner-occupied rehab activity. This will include a targeted area in each City for one year, which will then expand to include the entire City limits after year one if all funds have not been spent. If awarded, home owners who apply and meet eligibility requirements may have access to funding for certain home improvements.
Through the program, owner-occupied rehab deferred loans or “grants” will be made available to single family homeowners in targeted areas of each community. The target area will expand to include the entire City of each community after one year. The program runs a total of 30 months or until all funds have been committed.
Owner-occupied loans will be 100% deferred, with the deferred portion forgiven at about 14% or 1/7th per year, and totally forgiven after 7 years. A deferred loan means there are no payments required and the loan is totally forgiven if the homeowner continues to own and occupy the property. If they sell it, then they would have to pay the remaining unforgiven portion to the City.