EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a two-part series on Community Development Block Grant funding that the city of Piqua is receiving. Part two, to be published next week, will focus on the Critical Infrastructure funding.
PIQUA — Those living with a low or moderate income in the Southview neighborhood or in the Historic East Piqua neighborhood may have a shot at improving their homes through Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) funding. The city of Piqua and the Miami County Board of Commissioners partnered together this year to submit a CHIP funding application for $850,000. They were successful in securing that funding.
“It’s going to be a huge benefit,” Development Program Manager Nikki Reese with the city of Piqua said. “I just wish we had more.”
Piqua is set to receive $526,000 of the $850,000 CHIP funding that will go directly toward housing improvements for low-income households. The last time Piqua received CHIP funding was in 2010 for $500,000.
It was through partnering with the Miami County Board of Commissioners that Piqua was able to get the most bang for their buck. If the city of Piqua had submitted the application on their own, they would have only been eligible for $350,000.
“We were able to secure a lot more money,” Reese said.
Both owner-occupied dwellings and rentals will benefit from this funding. The CHIP funding that the city has received this year will allow the city to complete four owner home repair projects, nine private owner rehabilitation projects, two rental home repair projects, and three rental rehabilitation projects.
“The whole entire house is brought up to code,” Reese said about the rehabilitation projects.
For the private owner rehabilitation projects, the funding is a loan that declines 10 percent over five years. According to Reese, 75 percent of the loan is forgiven if the owners remain in that property for at least 10 years. The remaining 25 remaining has to be repaid to the city and goes into a CHIP revolving loan fund if the owner transfers the title or rents out the property. The total amount of funding that they can receive is $42,500.
The rental rehabilitation projects are also loan programs where the owner is typically required to contribute a portion of the cost. The total amount of funding they can receive is $43,500. The property owner must also agree to rent to persons of low or moderate incomes. The property owner is also not allowed to charge rent that exceeds the maximum allowed Fair Market Rents established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The home repair projects are a 100 percent grant program for owner-occupied residences. The owners are not required to pay anything back, and the most that they can receive is $10,500.
The rental home repair is a loan program where for-profit landlords with income levels exceeding 80 percent of Area Median Income are required to contribute financially to the project. The most they can receive from CHIP funding is $5,000.
With currently 22 applicants for the CHIP funding and not enough open slots for everybody, it is going to be a difficult decision for the city to determine who will receive the funding.
“I know everyone needs this assistance, and I just don’t have enough money to go around for everyone,” Reese said.
The city has established a “priority rating system” that will determine which applicant will get funding. As part of that, the city will look at how low the applicant’s income is and the severity of the need. Those neighborhoods were also selected due to requirements Ohio Development Services Agency (OSDA) from. The Southview neighborhood in particular is the only area in the city where over 51 percent of the residents have a low to moderate income.
Overall, Reese hopes that seeing the CHIP funded projects unfold will inspire other home owners and landlords in the neighbordhood to invest in and improve their own properties.
The applicants for CHIP funding will be selected in November of this year. Implementation of the funding will begin early 2016.
In a first for Piqua, the city has also been awarded $300,000 from the state’s Critical Infrastructure Program, another Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. This funding will go toward new water meter readers in the Southview Neighborhood.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall