Millinocket residents get housing help

Posted Feb. 04, 2011, at 5:47 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Contractors have begun repairing four of as many as 37 town residences that have applied for a portion of a $250,000 federal grant for upgrades or replacements of their homes, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said Friday.

Roof repair, window and door replacement, siding and trim wrap, electrical, plumbing, heating, handicapped access, lead paint hazard reduction, and the removal of interior health and safety hazards are among the tasks the contractors are performing.

Besides helping maintain the homes of the town’s least wealthy individuals, many of whom are retirees living on small pensions, the grant pumps much-needed money into the Katahdin region’s building trades industries and increases the value of the dwellings targeted, Conlogue said.

“The only bad thing is that we don’t have enough money to take care of everybody’s applications,” Conlogue said.

As part of the federal Community Development Block Grant program, which is administered through Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development, 10 municipalities each are getting $250,000 for single-family home repair this year, state officials have said.

They are Calais, Camden, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Farmington, Gouldsboro, Mars Hill, Millinocket, Parkman and St. Clair. The program typically disperses grants to eight to 10 communities annually.

Carlton Pinney, owner and proprietor of Northeast Housing Services of Hampden, is charged with administering the grants in Millinocket and Dexter. Dated Jan. 14, his first report to the Town Council and Conlogue states that $72,979 direct benefit funds have been committed, leaving a balance of $139,521.

The average project cost of the home repairs is $9,122.  Project costs range from $650 to $19,380, his report states. The work done will conform to federal Housing and Urban Development standards.

“Compared to most other towns I have experience with, this is a large number of applications to be on hand at this stage of the program,” Pinney said in his report of the 37 applicants. “It is more than enough to spend down all of the direct benefit funds in this grant award.”

Town and state officials will try to find other grant funding to address homes that this grant cannot repair, Conlogue said.

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