Friday, September 6, 2013

HOME Grant Money to Fund City Property Improvement Loan Program

By Christina Georgiou

Easton Mayor Sal Panto
talks about how the city will
use a $500,000 state grant
to fund a property improvement
loan program in the city at a
press conference on Thursday.
The City of Easton was recently awarded $500,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Mayor Sal Panto announced Thursday.

The money will be used to provide loans to city home owners for $3,000 to $18,000 for eligible repairs, maintenance, and improvements, including correction code violations and improving energy efficiency, Panto said.

The funds and loan program will be administered by the city's redevelopment authority.

HOME loans will be awarded with zero-percent interest terms, with no monthly payments due; instead, the amount is repayable in full when the home owner sells the property or moves. Repaid funds will then be made available to qualified applicants again, Panto said.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be at or below 80 percent of state median income: $40,000 for a single person household or $57,100 for a family of four.

Panto estimated the grant will fund about 20 such loans, but it's likely the city won't be able to accommodate all those that qualify and wish to take advantage of such loans.

"Unfortunately, we know that there will be more requests for funds than there are available funds," he said, adding that there are already about 35 households on a waiting list.

Priority for awarding the loans will be given to:

  • targeted neighborhoods in the West Ward and South Side districts
  • families with children
  • elderly people
  • very low-income households
  • properties deconverting back from multifamily dwellings to single residences

Applications for the loans will be available from the Easton Redevelopment Authority office, on the fourth floor of city hall, beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

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