Bethany J. Royer
PIQUA — Hard to believe but it is that time of year again as William (Bill) Lutz, development program manager for the city of Piqua, took to the podium at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
Lutz was seeking the blessing of commission members to apply for the annual Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) funds offered by the Ohio Development Services Agency.
CHIP provides housing improvements for low to moderate income households but over the years has seen a decline in funds provided to applicants resulting in a high level of competition.
According to Lutz, what began at a $500,000 maximum funding has been whittled down to $350,000 over the years due to federal allocations to the state of Ohio having been drastically cut.
Emphasizing the state is in a precarious position, working with less money while receiving strong applicants, steps must be taken to ensure there is enough money “in the pot for everybody.”
“This is probably one of the more competitive grant programs out there,” said Lutz with an estimated 110 communities to apply for the funds but the state planning to allocate funds to only 60 communities. “We’ll see how it turns out.”
What are the chances of the city receiving funds?
Lutz is unsure, again explaining the competitive nature of the grant coupled with its secretive methodology. Meaning, the state does not share scores or list how well (or not) the application was received due to the dual nature of limited funds and high applicant numbers equating to high competition.
“You get funded or you don’t get funded,” continued Lutz.
Will any specific neighborhood be targeted should the city receive funding?
No, says Lutz, though the city has done so in the past but with mixed success.
“It gets to the point, towards the end of the program, where you begin to take any applicant,” said Lutz as trying to fit the program with a specific neighborhood risks a lack of applicants and places the city in the position, “Where you have to give those monies back to the state and we don’t want to do that.”
Since 2001, Piqua has received over $2.5 million in grants for CHIP.
For more information on a definitive grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency and ensuing city project see Monday’s Piqua Daily Call.
How funds would be allocated according to the commission agenda:
1. Private Owner Rehabilitation Activity, 5 units, Maximum Hard Cost Assistance of $30,000 per unit. Maximum assistance for document recording, inspections, lead testing and other costs of $3,500 per unit. Total maximum assistance of $33,500 per unit.
2. Home Repair Activity, 11 units, Maximum Hard Cost Assistance of $8,000 per unit. Maximum assistance for document recording, inspections, lead testing and other soft costs of $2,000 per unit. Total maximum assistance of $10,000 per unit. 3. Rental Rehabilitation Activity, 2 units. Maximum Combined Assistance of $20,000 per unit.
4. New Construction Activity, 1 unit, Maximum Hard Cost Assistance of $20,000 per unit and Maximum assistance for document recording, inspections, lead testing and other soft costs at $2,000 per unit. Total maximum assistance of $22,000 per unit 5. General Administration of the program, including Fair Housing Outreach and Education, not to exceed at $35,000.
Commission meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of the month, on the second floor of the Government Municipal Complex, in the commission chamber. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. For information on meetings, work sessions, and more visit piquaoh.org.
Bethany J. Royer may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall