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HRA looking to rehabilitate homes in Chokio and Alberta

The Stevens County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), is collaborating with the Cities of Chokio and Alberta to apply to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for a grant to rehabilitate eligible owner-occupied homes within the city limits of those communities.

The Stevens County HRA, city of Chokio and city of Alberta will have information available to homeowners in Chokio and Alberta about the proposed grant program. The information packet will be available beginning Aug. 9, 2013 at the offices of the city of Chokio, city of Alberta, Stevens County HRA and other area locations as available. It will include a homeowner statement form and a funding example form that need to be completed and returned if residents are interested in participating in the home repair program. The forms are simple and easy to complete. Completed documents may be returned in person or by mail to: The Stevens County HRA; ATTN: Alice Strand; 400 Colorado Avenue, Suite 102, Morris, MN., 56267. Completed forms must be returned by 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.

If a grant is received, eligible improvements will include (but are not limited to): energy efficiency items such as windows, doors, and insulation; repair/replacement of electrical, plumbing, and heating systems; repair/replacement of components such as roofing, siding, steps, foundations; lead hazard reduction; and other work necessary to bring a home up to housing quality standards.

The deferred loan/grant will provide a forgivable loan based on homeowners' gross income. Up to $22,000 per eligible household may be available. A household qualifying for 100 percent assistance would have 100 percent of the home improvement cost paid by the grant. Those with higher incomes would receive assistance with 90 percent of the cost of repairs as a deferred loan/grant and the homeowner to contribute 10 percent of the project cost. None of the deferred loan needs to be paid back if homeowners continue to live in their home for eight years.

Eligible households must have gross annual income below $38,850 for a household of one, $44,400 for a household of two, $49,950 for a household of three, $55,500 for a household of four, $59,950 for a household of five and $64,400 for a household of six.

It is very important that residents respond by submitting the completed forms to the HRA. A good response will greatly increase the cities' chances of receiving a grant. Submitting the forms does not obligate anyone to participate in the grant program; it simply gives the funding source (DEED) an idea of how much interest and need there is among community residents.

Anyone with questions may call Alice Strand at the Stevens County HRA at 320-208-6559. Strand will be available to provide assistance with forms (please bring them with you) and to answer questions on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 at the Alberta City Hall from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and at the Chokio City Hall from 3 to 4:30 p.m; or you may schedule an appointment to meet with Strand at the Stevens County HRA office.