Kingston hopes to help fix homes

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By Mike Gibson

Kingston city officials have received U.S. Housing and Urban Development home grants in the past, but this year’s application will require some careful navigation.

“It’s a little bit tricky this time,” said City Manager David Bolling, who laid out plans to apply to the program this year at February city council sessions. “The parameters have changed. And that’s going to make for more hoops to jump through. In my opinion, it’s also going to limit our ability to help the people who most need help.”

In the past, the HUD grants have allowed municipalities a free hand in using the home rehab funds. Some low-income beneficiaries of the program had homes rebuilt outright, rather than merely rehabbed.

But Bolling said this year HUD has mandated that the funds be used only for renovation, and has capped the amount that can be spent at $40,000 per home.

“That kind of ties our hands behind our back,” he said.

The home grant application is due in April. In the meantime, the city will hold public meetings and seek out people whose homes might be eligible.

“Unfortunately, some of the worst cases will be knocked out of contention by the new rules,” Bolling said.