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Eligibility expands for owner-occupied home repair loans

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The city of Oelwein is now offering more residents funding to finance needed home repairs and improve the livability of single-family owner-occupied homes. The Home Rehabilitation Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program provides low-interest loans to residents meeting eligibility criteria.

“We expanded it from the typical program and added in the 125% and 150% of median family income (eligibility),” City Administrator Dylan Mulfinger said. “By doing that we opened it up to more people.”

The city hasn’t had any applications yet, but Mulfinger said he hopes people start to take advantage of it.

The city has done several owner-occupied housing rehab programs with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, and people typically want to know whether they’re eligible, what can be upgraded, when the project will start and when they will get the money.

ELIGIBILITY

Residents with up to 150% of the median household income for Fayette County are eligible to apply for assistance. Homeowners with household income greater than 100% of the Fayette County median income will be required to provide matching funds from 10 to 25% of total project costs. The 10% match starts at incomes over 100% of median and scales up to 20% match at over 125% of median and 25% match at over 150% of median.

As of June 1, 100% of county median income was $88,500 for a family of three. A table of the income requirements by household size is on page three of the application link.

Both interest rate and matching funds are determined by household size and income level. The minimum loan amount is $1,000 and the maximum amount is $15,000. Interest rates range from 1 to 4%, and these rates are fixed, Mulfinger said — meaning they won’t increase later if nothing is done.

WHAT CAN BE UPGRADED?

The mission of the program is to improve the structural integrity of housing in Oelwein by repair and rehabilitation of existing homes.

Rehabilitation is not remodeling. Rather, rehabilitation means improvement and repair directed toward accumulated maintenance that has been deferred, or needed replacement of principal fixtures and components of existing structures.

Potentially eligible work includes (on page five of the application):

• Roof repair or replacement, including gutters and downspouts.

• Mechanical systems repair, such as the furnace, air conditioning or water heater.

• Upgrade to minimum 100 Ampere electrical service, electrical repairs and replacement of fixtures.

• Upgrade plumbing service, plumbing repairs, and needed replacement of fixtures.

• Structural repairs and reconstruction including foundation or chimney repair.

• Repairs due to termite damage or to treat for termites.

• Exterior siding repair or replacement and exterior paint.

• Repair or replacement of entrance doors and windows.

• Repair or replacement of porches and decks to fix a violation of code or for safety.

• Repair or replacement of floor coverings.

• Interior wall and ceiling repair, drywall, interior doors and trim and paint.

• Removal of unsightly blight, dilapidation or deterioration due to deferred maintenance, such as teardown of dilapidated garages or sheds.

• Garage repair.

• Functional landscaping for redirection of water or retaining walls to prevent soil erosion.

• Tree and brush trimming and removal to prevent roof or siding damage, for safety or to cure blight.

• Sidewalk and driveway repair or replacement.

• Smoke detectors and deadbolt locks for safety and home security.

• Improvements to increase the efficient use of energy in structures through installation of storm windows and doors, siding, wall and attic insulation and weather stripping.

• Improvements to increase the efficient use of water

• Inspection, testing, and remediation of lead-based paint, asbestos or other hazards.

• Improvements designed to remove material and architectural barriers that restrict the mobility and accessibility of elderly or severely disabled persons to buildings.

Priority scoring will be given to projects addressing at least one of the above items or code violations, health and safety issues and energy efficiency. Projects falling outside these guidelines while still meeting the integrity and intent of the program will be considered on case-by-case basis.

No Home Rehabilitation Program funds shall be utilized for a new addition or new building expansion, unless approved by the City Council and necessary for the express purpose of code compliance or accommodation based on the American Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines.

WHEN WILL IT START?

The city will be taking applications now “until the money runs out.”

Funding is in the amount of $125,000 each year for the next three years, totaling $375,000.

“We take them as long as we can, and they get reviewed as they come in,” Mulfinger said.

Upper Explorerland administers the program, and the city of Oelwein allocates funding for it from “local option sales tax” (L.O.S.T.).

“We allocate the money for this program, the money stays in the program and it’s an expenditure for the city,” Mulfinger said.

“Establishing a dedicated, self-funded program provides greater stability and flexibility to successfully grow a community and meet the housing needs of its current and future residents. This freedom will allow tailoring of the program to the exact needs of the City of Oelwein,” said Katie Nolte, who heads the housing department at Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC).

UERPC will administer the program on behalf of the city. Applications will be accepted by UERPC on a continuous basis. Applications can be obtained online at this case-sensitive shortened link, bit.ly/OelweinRLFapp; at www.cityofoelwein.org in the June 26 posting by clicking the gray link, at Oelwein City Hall at 20 Second Ave. S.W., at www.uerpc.org, or by phone at 563-864-7551. Interested parties can also contact Katie Nolte or Lee Balik at UERPC at 563-864-7551 or email knolte@uerpc.org with any questions or to be sent an application packet.

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