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Woodstock to apply for grant to help struggling property owners

Money would help property owners make repairs

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 9:39 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 11:39 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – The city will apply for a grant to help struggling property owners make housing repairs – a small step toward improving distressed homes that council members say speckle the city.

The City Council on Tuesday offered approval for the city’s plan to apply for a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant, which is funded through HUD. The money would be distributed to property owners who meet certain requirements.

The elderly, long-term unemployed veterans and special-needs individuals who meet certain income requirements would be considered for funding that would tentatively max out at $7,500 per family, Planning and Zoning Administrator Jim Kastner said.

Repairs would target life-safety issues that threaten the residents’ safety, security and well-being. Projects like replacing HVAC units or redoing plumbing would be eligible. Strictly cosmetic repairs would not.

“We can use it for repairing or replacing a roof, which has some cosmetic value,” Kastner said.

Woodstock held a discussion about how to turn around eyesore properties at its City Council meeting in early February. There, council members talked about incentivizing such repairs. They also tossed around the idea of a more extreme measure that would force certain multifamily dwellings to revert to single-family homes.

Council members were generally open to incentives and reserved on the more extreme action. They also discussed pursuing grants.

While some properties of concern are owned by landlords who’ve let the homes fall into disrepair, Community and Economic Development Director Cort Carlson said after Tuesday’s meeting that the block grant money would help those who simply need the help.

“I think it’s a good first step,” he said.

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