HELENA, Mont. - On Thursday, the City of Helena announced their new home renewal program in partnership with the Community Development Block Grant. If your home needs help, you can now apply to have your home fixed up the right way.

The goal of this program is to provide rehabilitation to Helena area homes in need of help, specifically problems threatening residents' health and safety.

Homeowners can apply for a loan through this program but are required to provide proof of a "life-threatening" issue in their home. From there, loans range from $15,000 to $100,000, and homeowners can get loan forgiveness if they stay in their home ten years after the project is completed. While there is a crunch for housing in Helena right now, Helena Housing Coordinator Kara Snyder wants to clear up any misconceptions about the purpose of this program.

"This program doesn't necessarily address people needing housing. What we're really trying to do is address the health and safety issues of affordable housing currently in Helena," said Snyder.

And Kaia Peterson shed some light on what to expect if your subsidy amount goes north of $40,000.

"So, the term of the deed restriction is going to depend on the amount of the loan. So, although the loan amount will be forgiven after ten years, if the loan is over $40,000, the deed will have to stay in place for that 15-year period," said Peterson, executive director of NeighborWorks Montana.

To qualify, homeowners must meet a set of minimum requirements:

  • They must own a single-family home within city limits
  • No late mortgage payments
  • No more than $15,000 in liquid assets
  • A credit score of 850 or higher
  • An income at or below 80% of Helena resident's average income

I asked Snyder to tell me about how often they will be doing projects.

"Just looking back through at some of those initial projections, the hope was that we would do at least two projects a year, and that's really with the understanding that these projects are pretty large projects on homes," said Snyder. 

The application process is first-come, first-serve, so if you or someone you know meets the criteria, Head to Helena’s community development webpage to start your application.

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