Housing grants available to improve Belfast rental properties

Posted Dec. 27, 2011, at 6:51 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Belfast’s stock of rental buildings is slated to be spiffed up thanks to a grant from the Community Development Housing Program.

The city received $300,000 to rehabilitate rental properties. It is one of just six Maine communities that received a housing grant, according to Ron Harriman, program administrator.

“The overall goal of the program is to provide decent, safe and affordable housing for people with limited incomes,” he said Tuesday. “This is a program that the city of Belfast worked really hard to get.”

Qualifying applicants may receive up to $10,000 per unit, with a cap of $50,000. The money can be used for a variety of projects, Harriman said.

“It’s to do basically anything the property needs to improve it, to make it safer, more energy-efficient. Just to upgrade things that are tired. Heating systems, roofing, kitchen cabinets, windows, things like that,” he said.

There are certain criteria which applicants must meet in order to have their properties qualify. Those include: having three or more units in a building and having more than half the tenants meet income eligibility guidelines. Property owners also must match the grant with 20 percent of the project costs.

But Harriman urged potential applicants to not be turned off by the requirements.

“It’s an easy program for homeowners to get involved in,” he said. “We’ve got a list of qualified contractors who do a good job. We’re able to get some very good prices and quality work. We can also work with property owners.”

While people are beginning to call for more information, so far the program administrator has received only a few applications.

“This is a really good time for people to get their applications to us. At this point, we have lots of money,” Harriman said.

For information or to request an application, call 800-648-8335 or 947-8595. Applications also are available at www.Cityofbelfast.org.

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