October 21, 2014

Housing Commission offering variety of loans for home improvement

By Matt Keeton
Staff Writer | reporter@ogemawherald.com
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ARENAC COUNTY — Homeowners in Arenac County may qualify for loans to assist with home improvements through the Arenac County Housing Commission.

Jill Eyre, director of the housing commission, said that a variety of loans are available to homeowners with low or very low income to assist them in bringing their homes up to housing standards, as well as loans available to those with good credit records for various home improvement projects.

According to information provided by the housing commission, households with incomes at or below 50 percent of the median income of the county may qualify for deferred loans, and households with incomes between 50 percent and 80 percent of the median income of the county may qualify for loans with scheduled monthly payments.

“People qualify for either a deferred mortgage … or if they (have) a little higher income, they can get a zero- to three-percent loan,” Eyre said.

Eyre said the money for the loans comes from Community Development Block Grant funds, which are given to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which distributes the funds to nonprofits and municipalities across the state. She said loans through CDBG funding can only be used to bring a home up to current housing standards.

“We work with homeowners to rehab their homes to bring them up to housing standards,” Eyre said, adding that a maximum of $35,000 can be granted to a single home.

She said that the housing commission currently has only $18,000 remaining in CDBG funding.

“I only get money from that every other year,” Eyre said. “I will be applying again this summer.”

According to Eyre, the housing commission also received funding through MSHDA for home improvement loans, specifically targeting the Wells Addition area in Standish Township, a subdivision off of Cedar Street, which she said has around 90 homes.

“That money can go toward the same types of things the CDBG grant money goes toward,” Eyre said.

She said the housing commission continually applies for funding through the Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe, which it uses to assist homeowners countywide ages 55 and older. She said funding also comes to the housing commission through United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development for loans available to homeowners countywide.

“I don’t have a lot of money left there, but I will be applying again,” Eyre said.

Eyre said she recently applied for funding through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indiana, which is currently in the review process, which would allow the housing commission to offer a specific type of loan.

“It’s what they call a five-year retention program,” Eyre said. “If they are in their home for five years (after receiving funds), they don’t have to pay anything.”

She said the program would offer up to $7,500 loans, or a $10,000 grant requiring homeowners to match $2,500.

According to Eyre, those with good credit records may qualify for Property Improvement Program loans.

“The PIP is for people with good credit,” Eyre said. “There are two programs, the PIP and the PIP Plus.”

According to information provided by the housing commission, PIP loans are available to homes with incomes up to $44,000 annually. Loans can be for up to $35,000, and can take up to 20 years to repay. A PIP Plus loan is for homeowners with good credit, whose income is 80 percent or less of the county median income, and combines a PIP loan with CDBG funding, to make half the improvements to a home, up to $10,000, a five-year forgivable mortgage.

Eyre said that the PIP and PIP Plus loans can be used for improvements other than those needed to bring a home up to current housing standards.

“They’re not restrained on what they can do, unlike the other grants, which bring the homes up to housing standards,” Eyre said.

She said that, since she took the position as director of the housing commission a year and a half ago, she has not seen anyone who has applied for loans qualify for PIP of PIP Plus funding.

Eyre said that those seeking more information on loans available through the housing commission can go to the housing commission office in the Arenac County Building, or call 989-846-6651.

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