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Grant helping Walthourville homeowners
floor work
A Relaford Construction crew works on the floor of Ernestine Strickland’s Davis Street home. The work is possible through a Community Home Investment Program grant. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
Patricia Waye, Walthourville grant administrator, knows Ernestine Strickland will be glad to add new pipes to her home and eliminate the rotting wood frame in her kitchen at no cost to her.
A grant Walthourville recently received through the Community Home Investment Program will make the upgrades possible.
Strickland’s Davis Street home is the first in the city to undergo renovations using part of the $299,924 grant. The im-provements will bring the house up to “decent, safe, sanitary and affordable,” housing standards, according to Waye.
CHIP is a housing rehabilitation program through the state Department of Community Affairs to help low-income families make needed home repairs that, in most cases, homeowners are not required to pay for.
“What the program was designed to do was help those income-based people with their housing improvement needs,” Waye said. “The program is designed to bring the property up to state standards.
“You might not necessarily be renovating in terms of getting a whole new look when you go in, because the purpose is to address all the code violations of the house,” Waye said.
The Davis Street home had a lot of electrical code violations.
“Her main electrical service panel needed to be upgraded because it was really no longer serviceable for the house,” Waye said.
The city applied for the grant under former Mayor Henry Frasier Sr. in April 1997 and received the award in September 1997.
Waye said the application process was very competitive and once the city got the approval, there was a lot of preliminary work to be done.
“The end result is well worth all the work and time put into it,” Waye said. “Generally, what we see in these programs, we have a lot of elderly that just can’t afford repairs, desperately need of repair.”
To help identify im-provement needs, Waye also said door-to-door surveys were conducted during the city’s application process.
“This will help residents to know that the program is up and running and there is hope for them,” Waye said. “I think the thing the public is going to respond most is that the city of Walthourville responded to that particular need of their citizens. She said substandard housing is a big problem in the county.”
Repairs on the first home are expected to take about 90 days and the city has 24 months to complete the entire project.
“We will probably complete anywhere from 10 to 13 units once all the grant funds are expended,” Waye said.
Walthourville MayorDaisy Pray said seeing work started on the first project with the CHIP grant was a great achievement and applauded the former mayor for getting the ball rolling.
“(We are) just happy to be able to service the community,” Pray said.
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