Arenac board accepts grant money to help prevent utility shutoffs

Loan money still available for Twining residents

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ARENAC COUNTY — The Bay Area Community Foundation has provided Arenac County with some extra funding for those county residents who need a little assistance paying their utility bills.

At its Nov. 23 regular meeting, the Arenac County Board of Commissioners accepted a $1,000 grant from the foundation. According to terms of the grant agreement contract, funds may only be used to provide utility assistance, and clients may receive up to $200 in assistance. The contract also stipulates that the grant money must be used within 12 months of the original release date.

“It is to be used for shut-offs,” said Arenac County Housing Commission Director Jill Eyre of the grant money. “This is the first time we’ve applied for this.”

Eyre said the Housing Commission gets most of its referrals by word of mouth, but added that they receive some referrals from other area human service agencies.

“We’d love to get the money out for those who have utility issues,” she said.

In a related motion, the board approved an amendment to a USDA Rural Development grant recently received by the Arenac Housing Commission. In a Nov. 17 memo to the Board of Commissioners, Eyre stated that USDA Rural Development staff had asked her to lift a 10 percent cap that had been placed on project costs. Eyre said in order to do so, the board needed to approve an amendment of the grant.

“We went to another agency, who wrote the application,” Eyre said. “The Rural Development folks said you should have that lifted.”

Eyre said the department has already committed $3,000 of the Rural Development money to several projects, including handicapped-accessible projects and installing new electrical and plumbing equipment.

In addition to the aforementioned two items, Eyre said the Housing Department also has some loan money available for Twining village residents in need of assistance with home improvements. Eyre said the money has been available for some time, adding that she intends to send a letter to Twining residents reminding them of that fact.

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