Webster City homeowners in the area of Second Street from Broadway Street to the Overpass Drive, and along Superior Street from Second Street to Ohio Street, are encouraged to apply for a new housing rehabilitation program. Eligible homeowners could receive as much as $24,999 for home repairs and upgrades, according to city officials.
The funds are part of a Community Development Block Grant that the city could be awarded if enough homeowners decide to take and qualify for the grant. The purpose of the grant program is to expand or retain the supply of decent affordable housing for low-income Iowans.
The deadline was Sept. 4, but due to the Labor Day Holiday and the start of school, city officials are giving homeowners a few more days to apply.
City Planner Karla Wetzler said there are 54 homeowner-occupied properties in the targeted areas. Letters with the program guidelines were mailed to each homeowner along with a pre-application.
Once the applications are received, Wetzler said MIDAS Council of Governments will be doing the review to determine if the homeowner meets the qualifications.
"It's confidential. MIDAS will review the applications, not the city," she said.
Wetzler said once enough applicants have applied for the grant application to move forward, a low-to-moderate income survey will be done to make sure all applying meet the income guidelines and state regulations.
To be eligible, Hamilton County residents will need to meet the income guidelines as follows:
one person household: up to $35,500;
two persons housebold:$40,600;
three person household:
four person household:
five person household:
six person household:
seven person household:
eight person household:
"Bottomline, the objective is to help our low-income families to do rehab projects that they couldn't afford to do without this," she said. Furnace updates, plumbing repairs, energy efficiency projects and structural repairs are the types of projects that could qualify, Wetzler said.
"These are for necessary projects, not cosmetic," she said. "Roofing, sagging porch or other structural issues would likely qualify. A new dishwasher - that wouldn't."
This new program is in addition to an existing city-established loan program set up for Superior Street housing. That program is for exterior repairs or upgrades - siding, doors or windows.
"That program is a two-year pilot program," she said. "We're working with one homeowner now, and we've had three others apply."
"Actually, those on Superior Street could possibly be eligible for both programs," according to Wetzler.
She said small areas of the community were chosen for the CDBG - areas that would also be highly visibile in the community.
"We don't always know how people will respond to these programs, so we chose a smaller area," she said. "Hopefully, people will see those repairs and ask, 'How did you get that done on your home?'"
"Hopefully word of mouth will spread the news of the project. And people will see the good that they could be taking part in," she said. Wetzler said she has had requests from homeowners outside of the pilot area.
"We'll keep those folks in mind for the future," she said. If the program is successful, it could be expanded to other areas of the community, Wetzler noted.
If approved, eight to 10 homes could be done in the community.
Those interested in the program have until Friday to submit the initial application to Wetzler at City Hall. She said if homeowners have lost their application, she has more available at her office and is also available to answer questions about the application or participation in the program.
"All in all, it's an excellent opportunity for those who qualify to participate," she said.