Whitehall News

Residents jump at chance for half-off home renovations

Whitehall's grants for homeowners draw 55 applications on first day

By

As anticipated, applications for the Whitehall Home Reinvestment Program were closed after just one full business day at Whitehall City Hall.

Fifty-five applications were received between 8 a.m. June 4 and noon June 5, and it is unlikely funding will be available for all the applicants, said Gail Martineau, public relations coordinator for Whitehall.

"The response to this program has been overwhelming," Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard said at the June 3 meeting of City Council, during which council members made the mayor's program official by approving legislation to establish it and provide $100,000 in funding.

Dozens of residents waited in line -- one reportedly since 4:30 a.m. -- on June 4, the first business day after council approved the measure, Martineau said.

The demand was expected by city officials.

Maggard announced the Whitehall Home Reinvestment Program in late April and the legislation was introduced at the May 6 council meeting.

"People asked if they could camp out overnight," but the city would not allow it, Maggard said.

The 55 applications in the city's hands are time- and date-stamped and will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis, Martineau said.

Martineau anticipated about 20 to 25 applications will be approved, though not necessarily in the first 25 received.

The Whitehall Home Reinvestment Program is a reimbursable grant, she said.

Qualifying single-family homeowners can receive a matching reimbursable grant of up to $7,500 for exterior improvements and remodeling projects.

Homeowners must prove the work has been completed and paid, then will receive 50 percent of the cost of the project as a reimbursement, up to $7,500.

The city has set aside $100,000 for the program, but Maggard said she is considering seeking additional funding for subsequent programs.

"We know all 55 are single-family residences and that they all live in Whitehall," Martineau said.

During the next two weeks, a review committee composed of city staff members will review the applications to ensure other requirements are met.

"Then we begin notifying all the applicants of their status," Martineau said.

The number of applications that are accepted depends on several factors, she said.

"Some of the projects might come in at less money than expected, or others might not do the project," said Martineau.

Qualified applicants have 90 days to obtain any necessary permits and 12 months to complete the project once permits are issued, Martineau said.

Only exterior improvements, such as driveway repair or replacement of windows, are eligible for the program.

The Whitehall Home Reinvestment Program follows a similar program Maggard launched in 2012. The My Home Program provided financial assistance to residents who wanted to purchase a home. It was designed to increase the number of owner-occupied residences in Whitehall.

In introducing the Whitehall Home Reinvestment Program, Maggard said she wanted to provide similar assistance and commitment to the city's existing homeowners and in turn improve the city's aesthetics.

"This is a great example of local government supporting its citizens," Maggard said.

Comments