Local residents are invited to apply for Essential Single Family Rehabilitation forgivable loans for essential and critical repairs to single-family homes now through the Nov. 5 deadline.

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments in Henderson, which is managing the loan program as a member of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, has set aside $190,000 for successful Warren County applicants and plans to apply that toward the rehabilitation of five houses. Information from the COG indicates that, after the demonstrated successful use of the initial set-aside, additional funds may be accessed, depending on availability, on a unit-by-unit basis from the loan pool to assist additional homes.

Assistance for construction-related costs will be provided as no interest, no payment loans forgiven at the rate of $5,000 per year for as long as the owner resides in the home or until the balance is reduced to $0. The maximum term of the typical loan will be six years.

Non-construction-related costs, including lead and asbestos inspections, radon testing and environmental reviews, will be provided in the form of a grant.

To be eligible, the house must be owner-occupied and not a rental unit; must have a full-time household member who is elderly, disabled or a veteran, or a household with a child under the age of 6 who is at risk from identified lead hazards in the home; the gross annual household income must not exceed 80 percent of the area median income for Warren County; and the cost of rehabilitation cannot exceed the program guideline limit of $30,000.

Also, properties must require at least $5,000 of improvements in order to meet program standards; mobile homes are not eligible; manufactured housing is only eligible if the foundation and utility hookups are permanently affixed, including removal of all transporting equipment and installation of a full masonry foundation and tie-downs; the property must be free of environmental hazards and other nuisances as defined by the Warren County Health Department, or any such hazards or nuisances must be corrected as part of the rehabilitation of the unit; and properties cannot be located in the right-of-way of any impending or planned public improvements. 

Other eligibility requirements apply.

A weighted priority system has been developed to rank applications, with emergency need being given the highest number of points. Scoring and selection of eligible units will be completed by Dec. 5.

All rehabilitation work is scheduled to be under contract by Dec. 31, 2023, and work completed by June 15, 2024.

Locally, applications are available from the following locations: Norlina: Norlina Town Hall, 139 Hyco St., and Norlina Post Office, 306 Liberty St.; Warrenton: Warren County Administrative Office, 602 W. Ridgeway St.; Warren County Senior Center, 435 W. Franklin St.; and Warrenton Town Hall, 113 S. Bragg St.

Urgent Repair Program

In addition, the Kerr-Tar Regional COG has been awarded $200,000 by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency under the 2021 cycle of the Urgent Repair Program to assist residents of Warren, Franklin, Granville, Person and Vance counties. This program finances emergency home repairs for homeowners who are elderly or have special needs and whose incomes are below 50 percent of the median for the area. Only repairs that address imminent threats to the life and/or safety of occupants of the dwelling unit or accessibility modifications will be performed under the program.   

About 20 households for all counties are expected to be assisted.

In the Urgent Repair Program, one or two critical problems may be repaired, but the entire house is not addressed. Examples of work typically performed under this program include roof or heating/air conditioning system repair, well or septic system repairs, or adding accessibility features like ramps, bathroom grab bars and wider doors.

Those whose homes are selected for repairs will receive assistance in the form of an unsecured deferred, interest-free loan, forgiven at a rate of $2,000 per year until the principal balance is reduced to zero. The maximum amount of the loan available is $10,000.

The application period is now open, and the deadline is Nov. 5. Residents to be assisted will be selected by Jan. 1.

The application and full program information are available on the Kerr-Tar Regional COG website at kerrtarcog.org or by calling 252-436-2040.