New rehabilitation loan program now available

by Peter Bodley
Managing Editor

Rehabilitation loans will be available to very low-income homeowners in Anoka County through a new program offered by the Anoka County Community Development Department.

The Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Feb. 14 authorized participation in the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) homeowner rehabilitation program.

According to Karen Skepper, county director of community and economic development, the MHFA program has been available in the county before, but through a private lender.

However, the private lender is no longer participating in the rehabilitation program and the county has stepped in to pick up the slack, Skepper said.

Applications for rehabilitation loans will be taken by the county and if approved, the loan money will come from MHFA, she said.

There are two facets to the program – typical home rehabilitation projects like a new roof or windows, but the MHFA program also has funding for emergency loans, replacement of a furnace within 24 hours for example, and loans for accessibility issues, Skepper said.

Anoka County has its own homeowner rehabilitation loan program, but that does not offer emergency loans, she said.

“We are very excited to have the ability to provide emergency loans,” Skepper said.

According to the MHFA website, eligibility for the rehabilitation loan program includes homeowners with assets of not more than $25,000.

Income limits are one person, $17,700; two persons $20,200; three persons $22,700; four persons, $25,200; five persons, $27,100; six persons $29,100; seven persons, $31,300; and eight persons, $33,300.

The maximum loan amount is $27,000 with a maximum loan term of 15 years for properties taxed as real property and 10 years for mobile/manufactured home located in a mobile home park.

A loan through the MHFA program can be used to rehabilitate single-family homes, a one-unit dwelling in an eligible planned unit development, townhomes, a condominium unit, duplexes and manufactured housing taxed as real or person property.

State dollars are used by the MHFA to fund the program, according to Skepper.

The MHFA program will dovetail well with the county’s home rehabilitation program, Skepper said.

The countywide program, which is funded primarily by federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars, serves all communities in Anoka County except Coon Rapids, which receives a CDBG grant to run its own housing rehabilitation program.

Grants to low-income homeowners are given by the county to fix code violations, meet health/safety standards, weatherize and/or make energy efficiency improvements.

Work done may include roofs, electrical, plumbing, windows, siding, furnace, insulation, water heaters, foundations, accessibility and well or septic systems.

The Anoka County HRA authorized $100,000 for the countywide program as part of its CDBG allocations approved Feb. 14.

The agreement with MHFA for participation in its home rehabilitation program is for one year, but Skepper said she expects it will become a long-term partnership.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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