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Program provides grants to homeowners

Date: 3/20/2015

HOLYOKE – Does your home need some repairs? Depending upon income and size of your family, Holyoke homeowners may qualify for grants under the federally funded Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP).

Alicia Zoeller, director of Community Development for the city of Holyoke explained this program is available to people from “working families who might just need a little extra money to seniors who are house rich but cash poor.”

The city program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she explained and is being administered for the city by the Olde Holyoke Development Corp.

For qualified applicants the repairs could include new siding, a new roof, lead paint or asbestos removal, foundation repair, a new chimney, major porch replacement and improvements to wiring, plumbing, insulation, heating and hot water.

Zoeller said the program supports city homeowners. “Preserving housing stock is critical,” she added.

To make the process easier, Zoeller said in Holyoke the application has been streamlined and Old Holyoke offers bilingual assistance.

The amount a homeowner receives depends upon the size and income of the household, Zoeller explained. Single-family homes can receive a maximum grant of $4,800 while multi-family homes can receive $7,200. The home must be owner occupied, and the property must be current on tax payments. Homeowners must apply for the grant before they undertake the improvements.

The program is not new, but Zoeller and other officials want to be sure homeowners are aware of it. Since 2000, she noted, 809 homeowners have taken advantage of the grants to improve their properties.

Homeowners may not be aware that besides the NIP program, there are other groups that offer assistance a homeowner could use. Both the Valley Opportunity Council and Holyoke Gas and Electric offer programs that can assist homeowners, Zoeller added.

To apply, contact the Olde Holyoke Development Corporation at 533-7101.