SHARPSVILLE — Borough officials in Sharpsville hope to continue a program that helps low- and moderate-income borough residents repair their homes.

Sharpsville will apply for funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s HOME program to go toward the borough’s housing rehabilitation program. Borough Manager Ken Robertson said applications are expected in April.

No residents attended a public hearing last week on the grant application. Robertson said the borough was required to hold a hearing under the rules governing Sharpsville’s application for the HOME program.

The program allows low- and moderate-income residents to file for a loan to undertake repair or rehabilitation of their homes. Mourice Waltz, owner of Waltz Planners and Consultants in Sharpsville, said the loan amount decreases by 20 percent each year the resident remains in the house until the entire loan is forgiven after five years.

That provision prevents participants from improving their homes with public money, then selling the property for a higher price and pocketing the profits. 

“We won’t put on a new porch for somebody, but if you have a porch that needs repaired then we can get that fixed,” said Waltz, planning and grants consultant for the borough.

The housing rehabilitation program in Sharpsville began during the 1980s and has rehabilitated over 100 houses. Usually, the program services about five houses a year, with the last HOME funds grant amounting to about $350,000.

The current HOME funding is expected to expire in July. When it comes time for the borough to apply for the next round of funds around April, Waltz said officials will seek between $350,000 and $400,000.

“We estimated that if we were to do a dozen houses under the program, the cost would be about $463,000,” Waltz said.

HOME application forms are available year-round at the Sharpsville Borough Building, 1 S. Walnut St., Sharpsville. There are about 12 homes on the program’s waiting list, Waltz said.

“When the program started, we would prioritize the homes with seniors or the disabled, but we’ve covered so many homes that it’s now more of a first come-first serve basis,” Waltz said.

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