Housing repairs expected from CDBG funding

Seal of St. Lawrence County. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — A dozen houses around St. Lawrence County could receive rehabilitation assistance following the unanimous passage of a resolution Monday during the county Board of Legislators’ Operations Committee meeting.

The resolution authorizes a contract with the state Office of Community Renewal for Community Development Block Grant funds. Through the CDBG funds, St. Lawrence County would be awarded $615,000 to “provide housing rehabilitation assistance” to about 12 “eligible, income-qualified households in communities across the county,” according to the resolution.

“We’ve been writing applications for these grants for at least 30 years, and this is the latest grant that we were awarded,” said county Planning Department Director Jason C. Pfotenhauer said. “We distribute it out to individuals that, in this case, are in need of housing repair. So if they have a home in disrepair, they can reach out to our sub-recipient — Development Authority of the North Country — and they will get assessed.”

If it’s determined there’s a need, Mr. Pfotenhauer said the grant can fund repairs for anything that brings a home up to a more livable standard. That includes roofing, electrical work, or foundational or siding work.

He said the need assessment is based on income, with low- to moderate-income households being the primary targets for the program.

“We’re still in the early stages of the program, and this resolution is just to sign a contract, and then once the contract is signed, we have environmental review requirements and other steps have to take place before funds are released for us to begin work,” he said.

Those interested may call the Planning Department, 315-379-2292, and have their names taken down for future reference.

Mr. Pfotenhauer said the maximum administrative cost of the program would be 18%.

“It’s a great program. We’re always appreciative of the state providing funding to the county,” he said. “We’ve been able to do a lot of great work over the years, and we hope to continue it into the future.”

The resolution will move to the next full board meeting on Feb. 7.

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