City to apply for housing grant

GLOVERSVILLE — The city will once again apply for $500,000 in federal grant funding to continue a long running housing rehabilitation program that over the years has provided needed maintenance and upgrades to over 500 homes across the cities.

Nick Zabawsky, consultant to the city Community Development Agency, appeared before the Common Council during the Nov. 26 meeting to provide details on the city’s proposed application for $500,000 in grant funding through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME Program to support the city’s housing rehabilitation program that has been in operation since around 1989.

“This is for a housing rehabilitation program, it’s the same as the current program we have, it’s the rehabilitation of one and two-family owner occupied houses where the homeowners’ income meets the HUD income limits which typically for a family of four is around $40,000 a year,” Zabawsky explained during a public hearing on a resolution authorizing the grant application.

The program offers grant funding for necessary building maintenance, the elimination of code violations and upgrades to energy efficiency. Cosmetic repairs are not eligible for funding.

Zabawsky pointed to roof replacements, heating system installations, electrical upgrades, rebuilds of deteriorated porches and replacements of doors and windows as a few examples of the work completed through the program.

“We do lead testing in every unit that we do and address whatever problem is causing the high lead levels,” Zabawsky added. “A lot of the window replacements are related to lead paint, because all the older houses have lots of lead paint on the windows and every time you open and close the window, surfaces rub together, create lead dust and that’s the primary mechanism by which people get lead poisoning.”

To date Zabawsky estimated the city’s grant funded program has paid for the rehabilitation of over 500 units of housing across the city with each unit receiving approximately $25,000 to $30,000 of needed repairs and upgrades.

“If you drive up West Street the first couple blocks, about every other house was rehabbed through our program at one time or another. If you look at the houses that look a little bit newer or have new siding on them, that’s probably one of ours. We’ve circled the entire downtown over the last 20 years,” Zabawsky said.

“That’s quite an investment in Gloversville,” commented Councilman-at-Large Steven Smith.

“It’s in the many millions,” Zabawsky said in agreement.

The city annually applies for the grant funding to support the program. The Community Development Agency maintains a waiting list of qualified homeowners seeking access to the funds for housing rehabilitation.

With no additional comments from the public during the hearing the Common Council approved the resolution authorizing the submission of the $500,000 grant application.


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