Public Hearing Held on Community Block Grant Program

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33On Monday, October 26, Milford City Council held a public hearing regarding the Community Block Grant Program in accordance with Section 106 Review Process established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The public hearing was designed to encourage input from citizens and agencies regarding funding available through the Community Block Grant Program, which is administered by the United States Department of Housing and Development (HUD).

Albert Biddle from Kent County Levy Court and Brad Whaley, Senior Project Manager for the Sussex County Community Development and Housing Department provided information to the council and public regarding funding available through the grant program for home repairs needed to bring repair substandard housing.  Projects include replacing doors and windows, roof repairs, kitchen and bathroom replacements, as well as minor foundation work.

“In both Kent and Sussex County, we have $2.2 million available for funding these projects,” Mr. Whaley explained. “The money is given as very low-interest loans to low to moderate income homeowners. The Delaware State Housing Authority determines what the loans can be used for. The loans may only benefit people of low to moderate income and must be used to keep housing safe and stable..” Some of the requirements are that the home must be homeowner occupied, either insured or able to be insured and the homeowner must agree to secure the property with a lien.

According to Mr. Whaley, a family of four in Sussex County cannot make more than $49,900 annually in order to qualify. Income limits are higher in Kent County. Mr. Whaley said there was a small waiting list in Milford but that 28 projects were completed in 2014. Mayor Bryan Shupe asked if there was information that could be provided to the public and Mr. Biddle said that the program could provide pamphlets that the City could hand out. Mayor Shupe suggested that they be provided to building code inspectors who could give them to homeowners who may benefit from the program.

“We hold the public hearing so that anyone in the public who wishes to provide input into how the money is used,” Mr. Biddle explained. “Building inspectors in towns are made aware of the available funds. The challenge is always getting the information out to residents so they can take advantage of the program.” After the public hearing, council voted unanimously to endorse the Community Block Grant Program.

For more information on the Community Block Grant Program, individuals can contact Mr. Biddle in Kent County at 302-744-2480 or Mr. Whaley in Sussex County at 302-855-7777.