Town Approved For Housing Re-Hab Grant

Elderly and low-income home owners who need repairs or updates to their home may be a step closer to getting that work completed at at no cost.

Clerk-Treasurer Terry Richey said during last week’s town council meeting that Crothersville is one of 12 communities in the state to earn an Owner-Occupied Rehab Aging in Place Project grant through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

The town will receive $155,750 to help those who applied make repairs and home improvements.

That’s half of the amount the town applied for, but Crothersville officials said they were fortunate because only 12 of the 24 communities around the state that applied for funding received it.

“We’re thankful to get that portion of it,” town council President Ardell Mitchell said. “If we get 150 grand of home improvements for these folks that can’t afford it, that’s going to be awesome.”

Richey said the 13 local residents made application for the housing work. “We hope to be able to assist seven of them,” she said noting that if those seven homes do not use all of the $155,750, the town will continue to approve additional applicants to take full advantage of the grant.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority provides opportunities for qualifying Hoosier homeowners to receive assistance to make much-needed repairs to their homes, according to in.gov/ihcda.

The repair program allows eligible entities to apply for grant funding to complete repairs on owner-occupied residential properties. Funding of up to $25,000 may be used to address conditions in a home that, if left unattended, would create an issue with the integrity of the home or become a detriment to the quality of life for the residents.

The program is designed primarily to assist the elderly, but it also could help those needing handicap accessibility.

“If they need a new furnace or a roof is leaking or electrical wiring is outdated, it’s a way to help them get those improvements done on their houses,” Mitchell said.

For those in the town who applied, project funding will be prioritized. Residents have yet to learn if they were awarded funding.

As long as the homeowner stays in their home for three years, they don’t have to pay any money back, Richey said.

“This program is trying to help people to be able to stay in their homes longer,” she said.

Richey said she expects work on residents’ homes to begin next spring.

In other matters, local residents Joe Seal was on had with neighbors along Hominy Ditch to voice concerns about flash flooding. Hominy ditch is the match east-west surface water drainage ditch for the town.

“We’re been talking about this problem for years and it is time for the town to address it,” said Seal. “If we get 3 inches of rain or more we get flooded and everyone’s trash washes into our yards and we get to clean it up.”

Council President Mitchell explained that the town is in the running for a federal grant that will allow for cleaning the ditch and installation of larger culverts on Park and Kovener Streets.

“That work would drastically change the flow of water and, hopefully, eliminate your flooding problems,” said Mitchell.

“And what if we don’t get the funding?” questioned Seal.

“Well, then, we don’t know,” said Mitchell. “ The town is under a State CSO (combined sewer overflow) mandate and we are obligated to remedy that problem first.”

“But how do we fix the storm water problem?” asked Seal.

“There is an option. The town can implement at storm water utility tax to pay for the work and periodic maintenance. That’s a possibility but who wants to pay another tax?” Mitchell said which closed the discussion.