County turns over last NSP houses to Habitat

COVINGTON - Habitat for Humanity will take charge of the rehabilitation and selling of the seven remaining homes purchased as part of the county's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

An agreement approved by the Board of Commissioners Aug. 7 gives Habitat the authority to acquire the foreclosed single family units located within the NSP service area from the county's asset manager, Independent Educational Community Development Group, rehabilitate them and sell the properties to qualified owners at no-profit.

The county is opting to turn the responsibility over to Habitat because the organization is better equipped to find families that meet the requirement of earning less than 50 percent of area median income. Based upon the terms of the federal grant, 25 percent of funds received by the county must be used to benefit households with income at less than 50 percent of area median income, said Scott Sirotkin, director of the Department of Development Services.

The homes are located at 315 Barshay Drive; 35 Zelina Court; 370 Crestfield Circle; 75 Chandler Trace; 45 Trelawney Ave.; 455 Freeman Drive; and 418 Smith Store Road.

The properties have been acquired by Independent Educational Community Development Group and four have already been rehabilitated, leaving three remaining to be rehabilitated. Sirotkin told commissioners there is more than enough money remaining to cover the estimated $150,000 rehabilitation cost. The selling price of the homes must not exceed the cost to acquire and rehabilitate them. Habitat has families already identified and waiting to purchase the homes.

The county received $1,742,760 in grant funds for NSP and has received $380,105.03 in program income. This is the last leg of the program, and, "There may be unused grant funds when the rehab is complete. How or whether to use those funds is a decision that has not yet been made by the Board of Commissioners," Sirotkin said.

A total of 12 homes have been acquired -- the other five are at 275 Mountain Way; 545 Jack Neely Road; 110 Landing Lane; 185 Heaton Place Trail; and 130 Chandler Fields Drive and are all currently owner-occupied -- and the Fairview Community Park in Fairview Estates was built using NSP funds.

"Given that we have not completed the program yet, it's probably premature to give an assessment," of whether the program has met its objectives, said Sirotkin.

Commissioner Mort Ewing asked for a report of what costs the county has incurred in staff time and legal fees that will not be reimbursed by the Department of Community Affairs, the administrator of the program, since the program's its inception four years ago. Ewing requested a report to the BOC by its Sept. 18 meeting.


gsm7476 3 years, 3 months ago

Mort it will cost the TAX Payers a lot less than a COW BARN


dennistay53 3 years, 3 months ago

I'd like to see a report on our legal charges from our county attorney for last year and this year. Bet it didn't go down as much as the budgets for the other depts if any. Did it increase after he started reporting to the county mgr? Mort- cleanup your own backyard before you start asking others to clean theirs.


Silverbullet 3 years, 3 months ago

Isn't all this intertwined with Walker's Bend? County gets money, gives it to City, City throws it at Walker's Bend, County agrees to maintain Walker's Bend without any cut off date. Why would we do that? Our Commissioner's bought the farm on this one. WE the taxpayers of Newton County will be taking care of maintenance at Walker's Bend, which is in the Covington City Limits, from now on. BUT WHY? And, who has the accounting for the 'office' that was set up to handle the same type projects over on Fairview?. Isn't that in Mrs Nancy Shultz's district? Shouldn't she have been minding the store on a project in her district? I dont think anyone can figure out all this shuffling of money.


Calisweetheart 3 years, 2 months ago

I smell a rat here.  Why are these homes being given away?  Did not the county pay for or use funds to buy the lots and what funs?  Can the Newton Citizen explain?  Why can these homes not be sold? 


Chambermaid 3 years, 2 months ago

I think someone needs to look into the federal money and the liens and why these houses are not able to be sold.


JoanD 3 years, 2 months ago

@chambermaid - if that happens there are two elected officials in very deep doo doo - serious deep


Freshvoice2012 3 years, 2 months ago

I think it is time for the BOC Chair to come clean here.


Satan69 3 years, 2 months ago

The county received $1,742,760 in grant funds for NSP and has received $380,105.03 in program income - says the reporter.  OK follow the NSP money and tell me if it is true that there are liens on the Fairview properties and if so tell me why?  Can they be sold or not?  Does giving them to Habitat satisfy any liens if they are on their and where did all of the 1.7M dollars go?  


Grandcanyon 3 years, 2 months ago

@joan more like prison bars. Wonder how well pink lipstick goes with an orange jump suit. Follow the money as the article says it was ment for rehab not for a contractor to steal. Don't look now but we have a scandal.


Iknowddatsright 3 years, 2 months ago

all the reporter really has to do is ask chair morgan why sub contractors placed liens on them and if they did not get paid where did the fed dollars go and why?  start sniffing there and the rest reveals itself follow the money and the docs and emails on NSP and the Cook paving deal too - what do the song say there's no telling where the money went? 


MsKito 3 years, 2 months ago

The median income for Newton is around $44,000. If you are making less than half -- or less than $22,000 -- are you financially able to keep up a house? Putting people in houses is one thing, but if they can't care for them or keep up the payments for taxes, insurance, utilities, etc., then what's going to happen down the road?


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