NORWICH — Low- and moderate-income homeowners in the City of Norwich are getting an opportunity to improve their properties through the newly-launched housing rehabilitation program provided by the city.
City of Norwich Community Development Director Erik Scrivener said the program is being funded by US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) money the city has had in reserve over the years. They recently got approval to use the funds for housing, and have elected to begin providing forgivable loans to qualifying city homeowners.
To qualify for a loan, residents must own a home within city limits, must not be delinquent on taxes or in foreclosure, and the property they are looking to rehabilitate must be their primary residence.
The forgivable loans will be a maximum of $25,000 per unit, with a ten-year lien for loans over $15,000 and a five-year lien for loans under $15,000. Payments will be deferred with zero percent interest over the life of the loan, as long as the home remains the owner's primary residence.
"If you keep that as your primary residence and live in that property over that lien period you pay nothing. They would only be responsible for repayment if they left early or sold the property," Scrivener explained. "That would be on a declining balance, so every year out of the ten years, whatever that number ends up being, some that is owed would be reduced, eventually to zero."
"That’s the thought of keeping people in the single-family housing, keeping families here. It’s a pretty good structure here, providing necessary improvements to people that otherwise probably wouldn’t be able to afford them," he added.
Eligible rehabilitation projects include roof repair and replacement, windows, doors, structural improvements, energy efficiency upgrades, accessibility upgrades, insulation, lead-based paint remediation, and repair and replacement of public or private water and sewer lines.
Additionally, homeowners must be of low to moderate income. According to eligibility requirements listed on the city's website, NorwichNewYork.net, low to moderate income is considered at or below 80 percent of the 2022 median income, which is $69,700 for a family of four in Chenango County.
Along with a completed application, homeowners will be required to submit documentation establishing income. Documents include social security cards, income tax returns, payroll stubs, bank statements, and mortgage statements, among others.
"If you have all your information we will process that, take a look at your property, see what kind of rehab you need, and then it’ll go out to bid with our contractor list which we’re still working on building," said Scrivener. "These are all things that are going to come over the winter, but we want to get as much pre-approval as we can before spring comes when we can hopefully hit the ground running in getting some work done."
Applications and further information on the housing rehabilitation program can be found at NorwichNewYork.net.