CDBG dollars for housing rehabilitation

Coon Rapids plans to use whatever federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars it receives in 2013 on its housing rehabilitation program.

The Coon Rapids City Council had a public hearing on the use of the CDBG money, but no one appeared.

Then the council authorized the application for the 2013 program year funds for the housing rehabilitation program and an agreement with Anoka County on implementing the program.

The 2013 CDBG application covers an 18-month funding cycle from July 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2014.

Because Coon Rapids’ population is above 60,000, it is an entitlement community under the regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which administers the CDBG program, and thus receives a specific CDBG dollar amount which is passed through by Anoka County without going through its competitive process.

According to Cheryl Bennett, city housing and zoning administrator, the city has used its CDBG allocation most years to fund the housing rehabilitation program.

But how much the city will get is unknown at this time because federal funding levels have not yet been put in place for the 2013 program year, Bennett wrote in a report to the council.

For planning purposes, Bennett has used the 2012 allocation, which totaled $197,122 for housing rehabilitation projects in the city.

According to Bennett, the city’s housing rehabilitation loan program provides deferred, low-interest loans to low- and moderate-income residents, of which 50 percent of the loan is forgiven after five years.

“The loan fund assists homeowners with maintaining minimum housing standards and energy-related improvements in single- and two-family dwellings, including interior improvements on townhouse and other common interest community properties,” Bennett wrote.

“Funds can also be used on exterior rehab work on a dwelling unit within a common interest property when the homeowner, and not the association, is responsible for the work.”

A one-year tenancy requirement of the program is waived for the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties, Bennett wrote.

“This allows low- and moderate-income residents who have purchased a foreclosed property to begin the rehabilitation process immediately on purchase,” she wrote.

If the CDBG allocation is the same as 2012, then the city will be able provide assistance to eight to 12 homeowners, according to Bennett.

The maximum rehab loan amount is $20,000, but additional funds up to $4,999 per project can be provided to homeowners for lead-based abatement work or other rehabilitation needs, Bennett wrote.

“Funds used for assessment work to identify lead-based paint issues are granted to the homeowner and do not become part of the loan amount,” she wrote.