Douglas announces community block grant3/19/09

March 19, 2009

Gov. Jim Douglas visited Williston on Tuesday to announce a $360,000 community development block grant that will fund housing rehabilitation projects throughout the region.

The town of Williston applied for the grant on behalf of the Champlain Housing Trust, David Mace, spokesman for the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, said in an e-mail. The funding will be sub-granted to the Champlain Housing Loan Fund, allowing it to continue providing loans to residents whose homes need repairs.

A media release from the governor’s office said the town of Williston would receive the grant. But the money will in fact be used to provide loans to eligible home-owners throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, Mace said. The exception is Burlington, which has its own block grant.

Low-to-moderate income home-owners who cannot afford or qualify for a conventional loan are eligible to participate in the program. Low-interest loans can pay to repair or weatherize homes, remove lead-based paint and make homes handicapped-accessible. Mace said loans can also be used to provide counseling services for applicants.

The Champlain Housing Loan Fund is one is one of five regional loan funds in Vermont, according to information the Champlain Housing Trust provided to the town. It was established in 1997 and has loaned more than $2 million over the past 11 years.

— Greg Elias, Observer staff