Glenburn to apply for housing grant

By Jamison Cocklin, Special to the BDN
Posted Feb. 23, 2011, at 5:01 p.m.

GLENBURN, Maine — The town is preparing to apply for a $300,000 community development housing grant with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to help pay for significant home improvements for residents.

Town officials expect the process to be competitive. Only seven rural communities throughout Maine will receive such an allocation from the agency, according to Vicky Grotton, a member of the Glenburn Housing Development Grant Committee.

As a result, the town has urged residents in recent weeks to fill out a pre-applicaiton form that will help officials there measure the community’s interest and the level of need for the grant money. Grotton says the more pre-applications it receives, the better its chances are of receiving a grant from the state.

“I believe there is a huge need in a rural community like Glenburn for such a grant,” she said. “We have such a wide range of income levels, and the money would really help to make homes and properties safer.”

Community development housing grants often are administered by the state, after funds are received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If Glenburn receives the grant, it anticipates being able to assist in making improvements to more than 20 homes.

The grant’s requirements will stipulate what repairs can be made, but Grotton said approved repairs typically include weatherization, removal of hazardous materials from a property, and fixes on heating and septic systems, among other things.

Because Glenburn is at an early stage in the application process, town officials are encouraging people of all income levels to apply, as a higher level of interest means greater eligibility. Grotton said that if the town receives the grant, then pre-applicants will be notified, at which point they will be required to fill out an actual application in order to receive assistance with home repairs that will begin sometime this summer.

Grotton also said the town then will prioritize those applications based on need. In this case, if the town receives the grant and selects homes for improvements. Glenburn will hire area contractors to make repairs at the homeowners’ request.

Additionally, for those homeowners selected to receive assistance, the amount of financing they receive will depend on their home’s level of need, said committee member Carline Dube. For instance, if one home requires a new roof and repairs to a septic system, Dube said the owners would receive more financing in comparison to a home requiring minor repairs such as weatherization.

In 1995 and 1997 Glenburn received similar grants — $300,000 each year. Although Grotton did not serve on the housing committee at the time, she recalled the grant money as having a very positive effect on the community’s well-being.

In addition to hiring area contractors to make repairs facilitated by the grant, the town also plans to combine the funding it receives with area service agencies. This way, Grotton said, Glenburn will be able to provide a number of other services and repairs that may not be covered by the grant.

Residents interested in filling out a pre-application form may do so by contacting the town office or printing an application from its website, www.glenburn.org. The application process is confidential, and the town office will provide assistance in filling out the form for those who request it. A public hearing at the end of March will help residents learn more about the application process and the grant program.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/02/23/news/bangor/glenburn-to-apply-for-housing-grant/ printed on July 31, 2014