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.