This map highlights the area in Ellsworth that will be targeted in connection with $300,000 in government grant money the city has been awarded to improve private residences within the city. CITY OF ELLSWORTH

Applications for city home repair funding available starting Aug. 21



ELLSWORTH — Low- to moderate-income city residents, or landlords who rent to them, can apply for funding to help better their buildings starting Monday, Aug. 21.

The city of Ellsworth received $300,000 from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, which in turn got it from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is administered as a Community Development Block Grant, and will be used to make specific types of improvements to buildings that low- to moderate-income people call home.

The city is contracting with the Washington Hancock Community Agency (WHCA) to administer the grant. The contract calls for up to $40,500 of the total funding to be paid to WHCA for that work, leaving $259,500 to go toward housing rehabilitation work. The City Council approved that contract at its July meeting.

In a public notice, the city explains what the grant funding is designed to do:

“This program helps to fund the cost of necessary repairs that ensure that single-family owner- and renter-occupied houses are safe and meet current code requirements. Eligible repairs include such things as correcting code violations, weatherization, roofing, plumbing, electrical repairs, handicap access improvements and other repairs.”

The program is focusing on the built-up portion of Ellsworth, stretching roughly from Shore Road in the north to Card Brook in the south, and from State and High streets in the east to the southern end of the Christian Ridge Road in the west.

Homeowners or landlords interested in applying for the funding can contact Tracie Jordan at WHCA (610-5957 or [email protected]) or by going to the city’s website (www.ellsworthmaine.gov).

Applications will be available for a month, from Aug. 21 to Monday, Sept. 18. Anyone who has questions about financial eligibility — income guidelines are set by the government — should contact Jordan for more information. Gagnon said applications will not be processed, reviewed or scored until after the deadline has passed.

Gagnon noted the program is considered a forgivable loan, which essentially amounts to a grant. A certain percentage of the funding will be forgiven for each year the recipient stays in his or her home (or keeps renting the building to low- to moderate-income tenants) after the improvements are made, ranging from 5 to 10 years for homeowners (depending on their age) and 15 years for landlords.

Renters who think their buildings could benefit from the program can either tell their landlords about it directly, Gagnon said, or contact her directly (669-6608 or [email protected]) and she can send information about the program to the landlord.

Gagnon said she believes the grant funding is a good opportunity for qualified residents to make their homes better, safer places to live. That, in turn, improves the city as a whole.

“Get your application in,” she said. “It’s a great program and it’s going to go quickly.”

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller has worked at The Ellsworth American since 2012. He covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland. [email protected]
Steve Fuller

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