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City Council: Federal grants could fund family housing

Athens City Council members will be applying for about $500,000 coming from two federal grants to help finance affordable housing improvements for lower income families.

At yesterday’s city council meeting, council members decided to submit an application for about $500,000 of the $8.2 million Community Development Block Grant and an $18.3 million Home Investment Partnerships Program.

If the city receives a portion of both grants, the money will be used as part of the state Community Housing Improvement Program, Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl said.

“Anytime we get funds to increase housing developments, I think we should go for it,” said Councilman Elahu Gosney, D-at Large.

The CHIP program was developed to encourage housing improvements and affordability for low to moderate-income families, according to the Ohio Department of Development website.

Some improvements that would be made possible through this program include home repair private ownership rehabilitation, and down payment assistance, Wiehl said.

The CDBG grant works in conjunction with the HOME program to improve living conditions and housing affordability for low to moderate-income families across the country, said Gregg Andrews, director of the Housing and Community Development Division of Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action.

Residents eligible for the CHIP program must be below 80 percent of the county median income, according to city documents.

The deadline for the grant application is April 1, Wiehl said.

If Athens received money to implement the CHIP program, HAPCAP officials would provide up to $62,400 in services to help improve housing development in the community, according to city documents.

HAPCAP officials already received program training required by the department, according to the documents.

If awarded, some of the grant money could be donated to housing construction in the city for Habitat for Humanity, Wiehl said.

Three plots of land are being constructed for Habitat homes on Alexander Street, Wiehl said.


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