City discusses fair housing, Veterans Day holiday

Staff Report

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission listened to a presentation by Gallia County Administrator Karen Sprague regarding the Gallia County Fair Housing Program and the Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program, at its recent meeting.

Discussion returned among commissioners regarding whether to make Veterans Day an additional paid employee holiday when a motion was brought forward by Commissioner Tony Gallagher. Commissioners voted to table the issue until employees were asked their opinions about the matter.

“We have a CDBG program where the county receives money from the state and federal dollars,” said Sprague. “One of the requirements is that we have fair housing meetings to give information about fair housing to the public in each of the communities that receives funding from that grant. The city has a project that will be done some time this year for paving Court Street from First to Third Avenue.”

Federal and state law encompass fair housing laws that protect people from being discriminated against in obtaining the housing of their choice. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, handicap, national origin or familial status. The legislation applies to banks, realtors, mortgage companies and publications listing real estate.

According to information provided by Sprague, the CHIP program is funded through the Ohio Development Services Agency, Office of Community Development utilizing OHTF (Ohio Housing Trust Fund), CDBG (Community Development Block Grant), and HOME (Federal HOME Investment Partnership Program) funds. Gallia-Meigs Community Action Agency administers this program for the County Commissioners. The grant is available to LMI (low-to-moderate income) residents of Gallia and Meigs County who own their home and need health and safety repairs or for first-time home-buyers wishing to reside in Gallia or Meigs County.

Activities which can be applied for through this grant are as follows: home repair, private owner rehabilitation, and home ownership.

Grants are available for single family residential dwellings which are owner-occupied and whose total household income does not exceed maximum income limits. Assistance is available for emergency repairs, which may include furnace replacement, roof replacement, electrical repair, septic systems, handicapped accessibility and elimination of other health and safety issues. Eligible applicants are selected on a first-come, first-served basis in order to serve the neediest families.

Grants combined with direct and deferred loans are available for single-family residential dwellings which are owner-occupied and whose total household income does not exceed moderate-income maximum income limits. Each home who receives assistance will be brought up to the Office of Community Development’s Residential Rehabilitation Standards. Those applicants eligible for this program agree to a deferred mortgage to be place on the property for a period of 5 or 10 years depending upon funding source and amount used to rehabilitate the property. Eligible applicants are selected based on a priority rating in order to serve the neediest families.

The Home Ownership Program will be offered county-wide to all eligible persons who are below 80 percent of the county median income. The purpose of this program is to assist residents in purchasing an affordable unit. The applicant must be able to obtain financing through a qualified financial institution. The program will accomplish this by providing down payment assistance for the purchase of the unit and addresses health and safety issues with the home to be purchased. The program will require the applicant to have a minimum of $1,000 towards the purchase, meet HOME down payment assistance requirements, and participate in a home buyer education course. Those applicants eligible for this program agree to a deferred mortgage to be place on the property for a period of five or 10 years depending upon the amount used to rehabilitate the property. This mortgage will be forgiven at zero percent interest for the term of the mortgage.

Income guidelines used to determine eligibility for the CHIP program come from the Housing and Urban Development Section 8 program income guidelines as follows: one person in a household can qualify if they make under $34,400, two persons under $39,300, three persons under $44,200, five persons under $53,050, six persons under $57,000, Seven persons under $60,900 and eight persons under $64,850.

For more information about the CHIP program, contact Gallia-Meigs Community Action.

Dean Wright contributed to this report.

Staff Report