Roof work

Residents of the City of Oswego may apply for home improvement grants the city has secured through the state’s Affordable Home Ownership Development Program, according to Mayor Billy Barlow. Roof repair is one of the examples of the improvements designed to alleviate health and safety concerns in the home.

OSWEGO — Eligible homeowners within the city of Oswego may soon be able to apply for a home improvement grant to help make sure their properties are free of safety and health hazards, city officials said Monday.

The city secured $500,000 in funds from the state’s Affordable Home Ownership Development Program, according to a release from Mayor Billy Barlow, and plans to offer approximately 40 grants of $12,000 each to eligible homeowners for home improvement planning.

The release cites heating, plumbing, electrical, roofing, carpentry, masonry, window and door replacements, exterior painting and insulation work as examples of potential improvements that could alleviate health and safety concerns in the home.

The criteria for qualification under this program is listed as follows and officials said applications will be available in mid-July on a first-come, first-served basis:

• Property must be an owner-occupied single family or two-unit owner occupied home

• It must be located within the city of Oswego

• Applicants must provide a copy of the deed

• Property owners must submit a copy of current property insurance

• Property taxes and service fees such as water and sewer fees must be current

• Household income must stay within two thresholds of eligibility; $59,622 for a family of two and $74,528 for a family of four.

According to the release, qualifying homeowners will be required to match 25 percent of the grant up front in order to receive the funds.

“This (rehabilitation) grant is the first (rehabilitation) grant we designed requiring a match from the recipient and designed for low- to moderate-income families,” Barlow said in an interview Tuesday, noting the last rehabilitation grant program offered by the city came in 2017.

The mayor said the program aims to include property owners who may need financial assistance with home improvements.

“We designed this program to supplement our neighborhood revitalization efforts and it is purposefully designed in a way to include families who, because of income or other reasons, may not be able to make such a sizable investment in their property without some assistance,” Barlow said of the program. “We want to give our low- to moderate-income level residents a chance to participate in our neighborhood revitalization efforts and add to the progress we are making in most of our neighborhoods across the city.”

Barlow also called investing in properties a collective “win” and spoke to the inclusion of families with lower incomes into revitalization programs.

“When people invest in their property, the community as a whole, wins, and little by little we are improving our neighborhoods in the city,” the mayor said. “In order to sustain the progress we are seeing, we need to include everyone and give everybody the chance to be part of our renaissance.” 

A pre-application is available on the city’s website, or by calling the city’s Office of Economic Development at 315-343-3795. 

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