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Second housing assistance grant may be in works
RUMFORD -- With the successful completion of one housing assistance grant, officials here are considering pursuing another $250,000 Community Development Block Grant to upgrade housing.
At Thursday's meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Jim Rinaldo and Phil Blampied, members of the town Economic Development Committee, briefed the board on what the town, through administrator Community Concepts, achieved with the previous $250,000 CDBG housing assistance grant Rumford won two years ago.
That first grant was for $200,000 with a $20,000 town match. Blampied said the state added $50,000 to it "because they liked what we were doing.”
He said the town decided to enforce a rather strict wording of the fire code with landlords in town and were proposing they spend $30,000 to $40,000 on repairs to meet the new fire code requirements.
“We got the grant, which would allow those landlords willing to do so, to receive money to help pay for those fire code upgrades if they matched the money 50-50. In other words, if they got $8,000 to help them meet these upgrades, they would have to come up with $8,000 of their own," said Blampied.
The second part of the grant was to aid low- to moderate-income residents of Strathglass Park complete necessary repairs to preserve that historical asset.
He said participating landlords added about $80,000 and Community Concepts added additional funding. Overall, the grant also provided significant employment for local contractors.
Rinaldo noted that they already have people on the waiting list for a second round, which is one of the reasons they would like to apply for a second grant. He said taxpayers wouldn't have to provide 10 percent matching funds because Community Concepts would do that through their lead-paint abatement and weatherization programs.
The next round will begin in November. However, sometime between now and then, Blampied said, "You need a town meeting vote of the legislative body saying that they approve you're going for this grant."
There are nine different types of CDBG grants they could apply for, “but the one that we are a good prospect for are the housing assistance grant, which is what we had before. They like to follow one grant with another to get all the undone work finished up. We've been told we have a very good chance to get a housing assistance grant again," he said.
Selectmen took the matter under advisement after Town Manager Carlo Puiia said a special town meeting has yet to be set.