Austin HRA announces new home improvement program

Published 5:30 pm Friday, March 11, 2022

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With support from a Hormel Foundation grant, the Austin Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) is announcing the launch of a new program: CAP (Curb Appeal Project).

The intent of CAP is to pay a portion of project costs to Austin property owners who will make qualifying exterior improvements to the front/street side of their home, increasing its curb appeal which benefits the entire Austin community. There are income limits to participate.

Grants range from between $1,000 to $5,000. Homeowners must pay at least $4,000 of their own funds to be eligible to receive the minimum grant amount of $1,000 from the HRA. These dollars do not need to be repaid; this would be a one-time grant.

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Grants equal 20% of the applicant’s individual project would not exceed $5,000. If work is being done by the homeowner material costs qualify, but any tool costs will not be eligible.

Eligibility Requirements

• Owner-occupied, single family homes in the City of Austin.

• Current on property taxes.

• Property value is less than $200,000 based on Mower County estimated property value.

• The bulk of these projects must be visible from the street in front of the house.

• None of these projects can be part of an insurance claim.

• CHIP I or CHIP II Loans cannot be used for this program.

• Work cannot begin until approved by HRA.

•These grants will only be awarded to an individual once.

Possible Qualifying Projects include

• Front door, storm door, and/or garage door

• Sidelight windows by front door

• Columns at front door

• Covered front porch

• Brick, stone, or shakes

• Alter roofline on front of house

• Permanent landscaping (includes tree trimming, removal and replacement of overgrown and/or dead items, planting new trees, shrubs, plants and/or flowers)

• Driveway, sidewalk (repair or replace)

• Window boxes, shutters (add or replace)

• Screening of utility boxes and/or garbage and recycling cans

• Fence (add, repair, or replace)

• Windows (only front windows would qualify)

Income limits will be the same as the CHIP II program:

• 1 person $65,000

• 2 people $75,000

• 3 people and over $85,000

Based on the 2017 Housing Study there is a need to maintain our aging housing stock and the HRA feels this will help put another tool in the toolbox.

CAP Applications can be picked up at the Austin HRA @ 308 2nd Ave. NE, Austin, MN 55912 or call 507-433-1866.