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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Housing Rehabilitation for Homeowners Program Looking for Participants
Community Development
Housing Rehabilitation Program
August 11, 2011 - A Community Development Department program that helps qualified low-to-moderate income homeowners significantly improve, or even replace, their homes is seeking a key element - more participants.

"We used to have a waiting list," said Calvin Whitaker, who manages Community Development's Housing Rehabilitation for Homeowners program, "but we have worked through it."

So now the city is encouraging folks who might be interested in the department's effort to improve housing stock in the city to contact the Community Development Department.

The program is designed to use low-interest loans and grants to help eligible homeowners make renovations to their houses that they otherwise couldn't afford. The city uses funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the loans and works with each homeowner to ensure that the loan repayment is affordable.

The program is part of Community Development's commitment to making decent, safe and affordable housing available to families and individuals of modest means in Knoxville. It improves the livability of the homes, making them more energy efficient and affordable.

"One of the great things about it is that the loans are in the one to three percent range, so obviously it's the best loan in town," Whitaker said. "Also, in most cases there is a significant forgivable portion of the loan as long as the homeowner resides in the house, maintains it, pays their taxes and keeps their homeowners insurance."

He said the city generally wants to do 25-30 projects a year.

Typically the work includes things that bring a home up to Community Development's Neighborhood Housing Standards and can include correcting code violations; making the home more energy efficient; major repairs to the plumbing, electrical or heating and air systems; roofing; and other necessary repairs to floors, walls and siding among other things.

Community Development staffers work with the homeowners on the scope of the projects and on a loan repayment plan.

"We've had small jobs in the high teens and we've had some in the $60,000 range," Whitaker said. "We've worked with older people on fixed incomes; we always want to give people as much help as we can."

In some past cases it has been more cost efficient to replace the home instead of renovating it. In those instances the city offers the homeowner a new replacement home that can be built on their own lot.

All the work is performed by a licensed contractor and the homeowner can choose their own contractor as long as he or she meets city requirements.

Whitaker said some people may not consider the program because of the term low-income but he said a lot of working families in Knoxville meet those standards. For example a family of four with an income of $49,050 or less would qualify. So would a single parent with two children making $44,150 or less annually.

For more information about the City of Knoxville's Housing Rehabilitation for Homeowners Program, or to apply, please call 215-2120 or visit www.cityofknoxville.org/development/ownerrehab.asp.

More information about Community Development Department housing programs is also available at www.cityofknoxville.org/development.

For Immediate Release
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