Authority needs applicants for rental rehab program

BLOSSBURG The Tioga County Housing Authority’s rental rehab program has nearly $200,000 left to be used to fix up eligible rental properties, according to authority executive director Kelley Cevette.

“We still don’t have a large amount of applications, even in Bradford County,” Cevette said.

The authority received $275,000 through the PHARE program from Act 13 monies to be used on housing, so Cevette came up with a rehab program for properties with current tenants that meet the housing authority’s income guidelines.

Twenty-one applications have been received so far, and 18 of those have been processed.

“Right now there are five cases in the construction phase with only $64,200 spent so far,” she added.

With a 5 percent administrative fee of $16,000, the total spent is $80,253.

Four cases are in the bidding process and five are in the eligibility interview process.

Three applicants were found to be ineligible, she said.

“We had a unit someone applied for, and the taxes were paid, but value of the property was so low we couldn’t input any money,” she said, adding the authority must go by the assessed value, which in this case was less than $500.

“It is a lot of work to get through the process,” she added.

Cevette said the end of the construction season is coming up, and the authority hopes to be able to spend more of the money by November.

Properties must be inspected, then there is a closed bid process and a closed bid opening, and the project is typically awarded to the lowest bidder.

“The projects can be for as much as $18,000, but the property value has to be more,” she said.

“The ultimate goal is that the tenants would go on a rental assistance program, but 80 percent of them already are,” she added.

Applications are limited to one application per property per grant round, and this year are limited to duplexes.

Also, the repairs and rehab done is not cosmetic.

“We are only doing siding if they don’t have insulation. We have done roofs, windows, doors, heaters and hot water tanks,” she said.

There is a $50 application fee, she added.

In other business, the authority heard in the occupancy report there are two efficiency apartments open in Forest View Manor, Elkland. According to Cevette, efficiencies are difficult to fill. One has been open since Aug. 1.

It also got an update on the rental assistance program, which Cevette said was “about the same, we are spending more than what we are receiving.” The funding, based on January, February and March utilization was $42,000 per month, but spending was $45,200.

There have been 404 applications, 274 residents and 130 non residents, and seven vouchers issued to date.

It was also noted that this year’s bad debt to be written off is $17,400, or 1.1 percent – a little higher than last year. Most is accumulated rent that was not paid.