Around 18 Whitehall residents will receive a helping hand from Whitehall through the city's Home Reinvestment Program this year.

In its fourth year, the program Mayor Kim Maggard established sets aside matching funds for residents to fund home-improvement projects that increase the aesthetics of residences and boost curb appeal.

The city has received 25 applications so far this year, of which about 18 are expected to receive funding when finalists are determined Aug. 16, said Kaitlin King, community affairs manager for Whitehall.

The applications are to be approved on a first-come, first-served basis, King said.

The city allocated $75,000 for this year's program.

More than 20 people were in line at City Hall at 8 a.m. July 24 when the city began taking applications, King said.

If any of the 18 applications expected to be funded are withdrawn or fail to meet the requirements, other applications would move up, King said.

Porch and patio construction and remodeling are among the most popular projects, she said. Other applicants are planning for new garage doors, windows, siding and landscaping.

Qualifying residents must apply for any necessary permits within 90 days of receiving a letter of acceptance and construction must be completed within one year of receiving permits.

Residents are responsible for the full cost of the project up front but will be reimbursed for 50 percent of the project's cost, up to $7,500, when submitted after its completion and if all requirements are met, including property-tax compliance, King said.

The program has been a success, according to city officials.

Last year, 22 of 23 applications were approved and $70,000 was dispersed.

In 2015, 25 of 52 applications were approved and $105,000 was dispersed.

Maggard said the city benefits from the program through increased property values resulting from the improvements.

"(The program) helps to raise property values and quality of life in our city," said Maggard, adding its popularity is proven in the fact that all available funds were claimed within two hours of the opening for applications.

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