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Grant will help rehab homes
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 00:00

The Town of Camp Verde was awarded a $100,000 HOME grant for use in housing rehabilitation for residents that qualify.

Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin cautioned the Town Council about getting too many council members involved in the process, arguing that it would be best to keep the appearance of any politics out of decision making.HOME grants, part of the federal Home Investment Partnerships Program, are administered to the states by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, authorized by Congress under the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990.

The states are responsible for getting the money into the hands of local governments and entities with the goal of benefiting low-income people with housing and home ownership.

In order to get the money, Camp Verde had to update its guidelines governing the local housing rehabilitation pro-gram, according to Town Clerk Debbie Barber.

The town’s program was first established in 1992; the most recent update was in 2008.

One of the biggest changes to the guidelines addresses what the town should do with rehabilitated homes that are “foreclosed or recaptured” and return to town ownership.

The old rules didn’t cover such an incident because it had not happened until recently, when a woman who lived in one of the homes passed away and returned her home to the town.

The new rules outline that the town, once it receives a home back in its possession, will do everything it can to see that the home is sold to another qualified applicant through the program’s revolving loan fund.

The program has benefited 41 families with upgraded or new housing over the years. This latest grant will provide anywhere from two to three rehabilitation projects as well as the opportunity for home ownership for a qualified family.

The town’s housing commission, working alongside town staff, used to play a pivotal role in determining which residents were qualified for the program.

The housing commission no longer exists, however, after the Town Council voted to dissolve it and other boards and commissions a couple of years ago in an effort to save money.

The council briefly considered asking former housing commission members to serve on the updated project’s loan committee.

“They do have some expertise that not all of us have,” Councilwoman Robin Whatley said.

The council ultimately decided against it, considering that a committee made up of nonelected officials or non-town staff wasn’t the way to go, considering the confidential nature of some of the information reviewed by the committee.

Town Manager Russ Martin cautioned the council about getting too many council members involved in the process, arguing that it would be best to keep the appearance of any politics out of decision making.

Martin pointed out that much of the work was technical in nature and likened managing the revolving loan fund to the management decisions a bank would have to make.

The council eventually decided on a three-member loan committee composed of one council member and two staff members.

 

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