May 23, 2018
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Program helps low-income residents with health issues to make home repairs

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Low-income residents of Holden, Old Town, Indian Island and Veazie who have health problems caused by their housing conditions may submit applications for home improvements through the Penquis agency.

Water leaks, pests, mold, lead and poor ventilation are common problems for residents and can lead to high medical costs, according to Michael Bush, project director at Penquis.

“This program is partnering with home-based social service agencies to help identify and assist residents that are suffering poor health as a result of their housing,” Bush said.

The four communities involved in the program were awarded Community Development Block Grants through the Maine Office of Community Development. The grants will provide residents with deferred loans to cover the costs of home upgrades and repairs.

Penquis will give priority to people with very low incomes, the old and young, and people with health problems that are strongly related to the condition of their home, according to a press release.

Only residents with incomes below $35,200 for a one-person household, $40,200 for a two-person household, $45,250 for a three-person household or $50,250 for a four-person household are eligible.

“A healthy home is one that is dry, clean, pest-free, ventilated, safe, contaminant-free and maintained,” said Patty Hamilton of Bangor Health and Wellness, one of the project’s collaborators. “An absence of any one or more of these conditions may contribute to an unhealthy situation that can threaten the health and safety of the resident.”

Interested residents from the four communities may call Brandy at Penquis at 973-3545 to request an application or visit their local town office.

Applications should be submitted to Penquis by Aug. 15. The first round of improvements is scheduled to begin in September, with a second round planned for later this year.

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