Newberg City Council OK's program that will fund critical repairs on low-income manufactured homes in the city

The Newberg City Council approved a $10,000 grant Monday for a Newberg Area Habitat for Humanity program that specifically funds minor but critical repairs of manufactured homes. GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - Newberg Area Habitat for Humanity got a $10,000 boost from the City Council Monday for its 'A Brush with Kindness' program, offering health and safety repairs or projects for manufactured homes owned by low income families.

Matched by nearly $5,000 from other sources, the city's grant will specifically support "A Brush with Kindness" program targeting health and safety repairs on behalf of low-income manufactured home owners, according to city documents.

Cash for the grant will come out of the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund under rules and guidelines developed last year by the Affordable Housing Commission.

The Newberg Area Habitat for Humanity program receiving funds was started in 2010, according to a letter with the grant application submitted by executive director Rick Rogers.

The program channels "community goodwill" to address safety and health issues in manufactured homes owned by residents of low income and very low income — defined respectively as 60 and 25 percent of the median income.

Rogers explained in the letter that previous projects undertaken through the program have included building wheelchair ramps, replacing windows, repairing roofs and remodeling bathrooms. He expected the grant will help fund up to 10 similar projects over the next year.

Stuart Brown, local developer and chairman of the Affordable Housing Commission, informed the council that the grant application would be coming in April, at which time he noted that he would be donating funds to the effort personally. His local Guild Mortgage will also offer logistical support for the program, according to the application.

At the time, Brown anticipated the program would be a prelude for the larger $400,000 grant the city won from Business Oregon earlier this year specifically for keeping Newberg's manufactured homes in good condition. While some of that money has been available this year, the bulk of that grant will be ready next fiscal year — starting July 1 — with marketing efforts to begin this summer.