City looking to secure grants for home improvementsPublished 10:40am Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The Austin City Council will work with Austin’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority to secure an estimated $500,000-$600,000 in grants for home improvement projects in northeast Austin.
HRA Executive Director Jon Erichson asked the council to apply for a small cities lot grant for improvements to lower- and middle-income housing in the South Crane neighborhood just east of Hormel Foods Corp.’s Austin plant.
Erichson said the funded projects, which are strikingly similar to the HRA’s Community Home Improvement Project, would be able to help about 25 to 30 homes which are decades old and in need of repair. The grants in question make owner-occupied housing a priority over rental properties, however.
“We’ve gone through and surveyed the community, and that neighborhood over there, and we think there’s enough homes that are eligible,” Erichson said.
The grant projects may be similar to CHIP in that homeowners would have to apply for help from the city to benefit. Yet the city could also perform massive projects that improve every home, such as updating utility lines in that area, according to Erichson. Rental-owned houses could also be eligible, but Erichson said city officials would have to prioritize owner-occupied housing first.
Grant applications are due in mid-November, and Erichson said some projects could be done in 2014. The projects would likely wrap up in 2015.