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County gets #036;500,000 in housing help

Lawrence County will receive $500,000 this year in housing improvement dollars under the state’s yearly CHIP funding.

Sunday, August 19, 2001

Lawrence County will receive $500,000 this year in housing improvement dollars under the state’s yearly CHIP funding.

"Basically, under that program, the county has money available for housing rehabilitation and replacement," Ralph Kline, with the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO, told commissioners Thursday.

Commissioners said the much-needed funds will improve living conditions and help expand affordable housing.

It’s likely that the money will be targeted for replacement housing.

Tearing down old structures for replacement is often more cost effective because of today’s housing requirements, Kline said.

For example, renovating a home could include expensive lead-based paint removal or other work. Renovation costs can then become higher than replacement costs.

CHIP, or Community Housing Improvement Program, receives its funds from federal grants. More than $31 million will pass down to 620 Ohio communities. Lawrence County will receive $500,000.

Usually, more than 100 people come stand outside the CAO office, waiting to apply for funds.

So, this year’s process for choosing recipients will be different, using a lottery system, Kline said.

Here’s how it will work: The CAO will give notice that pre-applications will be taken, probably around the first of the year, then dates will be set for the lottery, Kline said. After applicants draw a number, the numbers will determine the order individual projects will be done, until the money runs out.

Although the grant dollars pay for much of the projects, homeowners receiving assistance generally must pay part of the costs of either renovating or rebuilding a home.

There’s no good way to do it – some people have been waiting for 10 years to receive assistance – but the lottery method removes favoritism and other complaints, commissioners said.

And, although the assistance is welcome, there’s not enough to go around in the first place, commissioners said, adding that state, federal and local governments need to find additional ways to promote better housing.