AP bulks up housing rehab funds

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK– If you don’t use it, you lose it.

That’s the adage City Council members followed Tuesday when they voted to amend a county award and move $40,000 in community block grant funds to be used for housing rehabilitation.

The funds, awarded by Wayne County, had been left unused in senior services accounts for 2009 and 2010 and are due to expire in 2011 and 2012, respectively if the city did not use them, City Administrator John Zech said.

Zech said the funds – $4,100 from 2009’s senior services account, $25,840 from 2010’s and $10,000 from its administration budget – will not impact the senior services budget, as it has “plenty of funds.”

Zech said public hearings were held when the funds were first awarded, and projects were planned, including an ongoing street improvement project, but others were not completed in time.

The funds are to be used to tackle a waiting list of income-eligable homeowners who have requesting assistance with rehabilitation of their houses. Once that list is exhausted, more applications will be accepted, Zech said.

Income requirements are set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and depend on family size.

“We’re trying to keep the city from getting these monies taken away from us and we’re trying to put them in a place where we have a waiting list of people in need of housing rehab,” Zech said. “We want to get Allen Park back into a situation where some years ago it was a leader in housing rehab. This is the first step in doing that.”