KEESEVILLE — The State Homes and Community Renewal Office has delivered significant housing grants to agencies in Essex, Franklin and Clinton County.
Of 80 awards made across the state, nearly $2 million was given for disbursement in the towns of Black Brook, AuSable, Chesterfield, Franklin, Constable and Belmont and for first-time homebuyer assistance in Clinton County.
Most of the money is being administered by the nonprofit housing-assistance organizations that wrote the grants.
It comes from funding pools of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Residential Emergency Services to Offer (Home) Repairs to the Elderly (RESTORE).
The money targets efforts to fix senior housing; rehabilitate and preserve housing for low- and moderate-income residents; and to help first-time homebuyers.
“These competitive awards support critical priorities and highlight the greatest needs within the state’s economic development regions,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the awards.
They are actually proceeds from 2013 awards, according to Bruce Misarski, Community Development director at the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County.
That agency will administer funds for Chesterfield, Clinton County and emergency repair funds for the elderly in Essex County.
“This was 2013’s money. There was never a funding round paid out last year. We anticipate there will be a round for 2014 later this year,” he said Friday.
The holdup of grant disbursal last year was likely due to the housing emergency caused by major flood events in 2011 and 2012.
“Storm relief was a huge housing crunch for the whole state,” Misarski said.
Nonetheless, the need for housing repair and rehab grants appears to be on the rise.
“The demand seems to be increasing, and these programs are needed more than ever,” Misarski said of middle- and low-income grant-based need.
“And these grants support a big part of the construction going on in the North Country.”