By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Around 30 people were in attendance at a public meeting last week to learn more about a $500,000 HOME grant given to Trousdale County by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).

The grant is to assist low-income homeowners with needed repairs to homes, such as flooring, roofing, windows or AC/heating.

Submitted photo

Grant administrator Faye Leonard spoke on behalf of THDA and explained how the grant works, the application process and the timeline.

“Trousdale County has been fortunate to receive this grant of a half-million dollars,” Leonard said. “There were not a lot of counties in the state that received this money.”

Applicants must own their home (having a mortgage is fine) and have lived there for at least a year. Applicants must also commit to staying in the home for five years after repair work is completed. If a home is completely rebuilt, applicants must commit to staying for 15 years. If owners sell early, they will have to repay a prorated portion of the grant funds utilized for their property.

THDA guidelines for the program define low-income as the following: one resident with income of $41,950 or less; two residents $47,950; three residents $53,950; four residents $59,900. The income limit continues to rise as the number of people in the residence increases.

Applicants cannot live in a flood plain, must have homeowners’ insurance and cannot be behind on their property tax payments. Rental properties and trailers are not eligible for the grant.

Leonard said on average, a remodel under this program costs $35,000 to $40,000.

“We have to everything that’s necessary to bring the house up to codes,” Leonard said. “If a house is in bad enough condition that it’s not economically feasible to do those repairs, we are allowed to tear the house down and build back on the same site.”

An environmental review will be done on residences and a certified housing inspector will determine what work is needed. Leonard said construction could begin in the early spring of 2019.

Applications will be rated on a point system. Elderly or disabled homeowners receive extra points.

“It’s not first come, first served,” Leonard said. “It’s strictly based on the points.”

Applications are available through the county mayor’s office and must be turned in by the end of business on Thursday, Oct. 18. For more information, contact the mayor’s office at 615-374-2461.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.