Besides food and water, the most important element in human survival is a place to live. We are still in the throes of a long, cold winter, and the stories of endurance by those who are homeless, or in inadequate housing, have been all over the headlines. There isn't any question that we need more housing of every kind.
There are many, too, who are low-income and could retain the housing that they have but who do not have the means to do so. Many nonprofit organizations are trying to do their best, but they do not have the funds to meet these needs.
With this in mind, I have introduced two bills that promise to give low income families a leg up.
HB 2570 directs the Housing and Community Services Department (HCSD) to establish an Affordable Homeownership Grant Program to provide grants to eligible nonprofit organizations with affordable home ownership programs. In other words, organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Community Action Teams throughout the state are to receive grants that will be dedicated to purchase, construct or rehabilitate homes, and manufactured homes, for sale to persons in low-income households.
This grant program will require the nonprofit to create and administer a revolving fund, which will repay the grant so that these funds will be continuously available for the next household in need. The department will also conduct audits and will require a yearly report to make sure that the monies are spent according to established guidelines.
The second bill that I introduced is HB 2961. This bill also establishes a special fund within HCSD called the Home ownership Repair and Rehabilitation Program. This addresses the dire need of some folks who already have a house but it may be at risk of falling down around them. Or perhaps it just needs a new roof or some dry rot repairs so that they can stay in their home and be safe. Again, this will be a revolving fund and the amount of financial assistance will be limited to $25,000 per household.