Athens County Awarded $ 1 Million For Housing Projects

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Athens County has been awarded $1 million to partner with Athens and Nelsonville on housing-related projects.

At their meeting Tuesday, the Athens County Commissioners voted to accept the award of the Community Housing Impact and Preservation Grant. The money is coming through the Ohio Development Services Agency, and the full amount requested was granted.

The Messenger previously reported that the $1 million was being sought to repair 20 owner-occupied homes and 13 rental homes. In addition, more extensive rehabilitations will be done to eight owner-occupied homes and two rentals.

There are income guidelines for participation in the home repair and rehabilitation programs, according to Penny Martin, spokeswoman for the Ohio Development Services Agency.

“For a family of four, who owns or rents their home in Athens County, they must have an income at or below $43,450 to qualify for the program,” she said.

The grant application also requested $66,000 to help construct three homes with Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio.

Habitat Executive Director Kenneth Oehlers said two of the homes will be built on West Franklin Street in Nelsonville, with work expected to begin in the spring or early summer. The location of the third home has not been determined.

He said the total budget for the three projects is $200,000.

“That (grant award) gives us a good start, but that leaves us with about $140,000 that we still have to find,” Oehlers said.

The grant award also includes funds to help two families with down payments and closing costs on home purchases.

The Athens County grant is being administered by Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Agency.

Several neighboring counties also received awards, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

Jackson County was awarded $975,000, and will be partnering with Wellston and Jackson to do repairs on 22 owner-occupied homes and 10 rentals, rehabilitation of nine homes, provide rental assistance to 20 families and home ownership assistance to three families.

Morgan and Vinton Counties were each awarded a $400,000 grant. Vinton County is being given funds to rehabilitate six homes and repair 12 others, while Morgan County’s funding is for rehabilitation of five homes, repair of 10 homes and assistance in building a Habitat for Humanity home.

Washington County, which is partnering with Belpre, was awarded $625,000 to rehabilitate 11 homes and repair 16 homes, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.