Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

The City of Wellington hosted an information session Thursday at the Sumner County Economic Development Office to discuss the process for the Community Development Block Grant Housing Plan.

Casey Tillman, grant administrator, from the South Central Kansas Economic Development District informed the audience present about the target area for the grant and what is needed to apply.

Last year SCKEDD used a pre-application process to determine the target area that the grant will be applied to. A target area was then developed based off that need.

The target area is defined as the west side of A Street to the east side of G street between Eighth and 15th Street within the Wellington city limits, with both sides of the boundary streets included.

“The goal of that is to open it up to more,” Tillman said. “Both sides of the street are part of the same neighborhood.”

SCKEDD will be issuing 15 grants in Wellington for the improvement of properties in the amount of up to $25,000. This will be a first come-first served process as long as the applicants meets the income requirements established.

“The application process begins with submitting an application,” Tillman said. “The main thing that we need is your income information. The CDBG’s goal is to benefit a low to moderate income population.”

Low to moderate income is 80-percent of the area median income, and goes off the number of people in the household. For a family of four the income cap is $50,800.

The grant is available for both owner-occupied homes, and owner-rental homes.

“If is for a rental property, two applications must be filled out,” Tillman said. “One for the tenant and one for the landlord. The landlord does not have to provide income information, unless they want that extra discount on their portion of the match. If they are not low to moderate income it is a 25-percent match, if they are low to moderate income then it is 15-percent match. But, landlords do not have to contribute the income information.”

Landlords that are approved must sign a rent freeze agreement, stating that will not increase rent due to the amount put into the home for three years.

If approved a three year lien, considered a forgiveable loan, is placed on the home. If for some reason the home is sold or abandoned in that three year period the recipient has to repay the prorated amount, but after three years is disappears and is totally free according to Tillman.

“The goal is to protect the investment in the house,” Tillman said. “We don’t want someone getting $25,000 into a house and flipping the house for a profit. That is just not the goal of the program. We want to ensure that a low to moderate income individual is living in the home for three years following the rehab work.”

Three things are needed for the application process to progress smoothly, in addition to the application it self. The applicant will need to prove proof of income, 2016 taxes. SCKEDD looks at the adjusted gross income only.

They will also need proof of ownership in the form of a mortgage or deed and proof of adequate insurance on the property. The insurance must be maintained for the three years to protect the investment.

Once the application and required paperwork is submitted to the City of Wellington, the application will be screened by SCKEDD and approved if meeting the financial guidelines.

Once the homes are approved a inspector will visit the home and determine what work needs to be done on the home. The contractors will then tour the homes and based on the inspectors recommendations a bid will be placed.

“The bids go out and a week later we hold a bid tour,” Tillman said. “Any bidder is required to go on the bid tour. We go around and the inspector shows them everything that will be on the work order. So, they can go around, take measurements determine material and ask questions. It takes about an hour per home.”

While the goal for SCKEDD is to get the lowest for everybody, the lowest bid might not get awarded the contract. If the lowest bidder has already been awarded a project the next lowest bid will be awarded.

“Bid openings are not as straight forward as big projects,” Tillman said. “SCKEDD will divvy them out as best as they can. The goal is to get at least one of the contractors their lowest bid.”

Once the contract is awarded the contractor will have 45 days to complete the work on the home.

The grant is made possible by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development funds that have been allocated to the Kansas Department of Commerce. The City of Wellington was awarded $300,000 in CDBG grant money and a maximum of $25,000 can be spent on rehabilitating a home.

According to the paperwork provided, a private match is encouraged to fill the gap in financing if a rehabilitation exceeds this amount. Though Tillman stated that if the inspectors determine that the cost is too extreme the grant application will be denied and the home owner will get an explanation for the denial.

Applications are available for pickup at both the Sumner County Economic Development Office, 314 North Washington, or the City of Wellington, 317 South Washington. The completed application and all necessary paperwork must be turned in to the City of Wellington to be considered.

All persons that filled out a pre-application are required to fill out an application to be considered for the program.