Luzerne County Announces Home Rehabilitation Grants For Eligible Property Owners
Income-eligible homeowners in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania will soon have an opportunity to apply for grants that can help preserve their aging homes. County Community Development Director Andrew Reilly announced that the Whole-Home Repairs Program will soon be available to qualifying property owners.
Reilly emphasized that a public announcement regarding eligibility requirements and the application process will be made once all the details are finalized. The announcement will be released through the media and the county website.
The state’s Whole-Home Repairs Program and statewide allocation awards will be formally announced by Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration in the near future. Luzerne County is set to receive at least $3.24 million for the program, which has been publicly known since the county council voted last week on the first stage of a budget amendment factoring in the anticipated funds from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Reilly’s office will oversee the county program, but will enter into a subrecipient agreement with the Commission on Economic Opportunity to administer it. The Whole-Home Repairs Program is covered by a portion of the state’s federal American Rescue Plan receipts and will provide funds for homeowners to address habitability and safety concerns, improve energy or water efficiency, and make dwellings accessible for those with disabilities.
While the state indicated that a single grant cannot exceed $50,000, the county program is likely to set a lower cap to provide funds to a greater number of eligible property owners. However, Reilly expects the demand to exceed available funding.
Reilly said he has already received numerous inquiries about the program and advised those reaching out that there is no way to apply until the details are finalized and announced. To be eligible, the household income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income.
Reilly said he must await state guidance before announcing any specific income thresholds because it’s still unclear if the formula will be the same for all households or based on family size. The state has scheduled conference call briefings with participating counties later this month.
If the county ends up receiving more eligible applicants than it can fund, a waiting list may be kept in case additional funds are allocated. However, Reilly cautioned that this has not been set up as a permanent, ongoing program, as the federal government set deadlines on the expenditure of funds.
In addition to the Whole-Home Repairs Program, Reilly reiterated that his office always offers the Emergency Home Rehabilitation Program for income-eligible homeowners to make emergency repairs. However, this program is not intended for general home rehabilitation and only funds specific building issues that create “unexpected and immediate danger to the health and well-being of the occupants.”
Homeowners interested in the emergency repair program must own and occupy the residence and have a household income at or below 80% of the median income for the area under federal regulations. The program does not apply to structures in the county’s four cities — Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Pittston, and Nanticoke — because these cities are eligible for their own funding.
Details on the emergency repair program are available by contacting Reilly’s office at 570-824-7214 or visiting the office’s page at luzernecounty.org.