NEWBERRY — Dennis Dingman of Summit Professional Services, Inc., addressed the Jan. 27 City of Newberry Commission meeting to provide a status report on a Community Development Block Housing Rehabilitation Grant (CDBG). Out of 22 applicants requesting assistance through this grant, Dingman said 10 properties qualified.
Of the qualified applicants, five properties were identified as homes that could be rehabilitated and five more were identified as homes that needed to be demolished.
Due to a $25,000 shortfall in the budget from the State, Dingman said he then began talking with State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program administrators to determine if the City might be able to apply to their program for $40,000 in SHIP matching funds.
Florida Housing administers the SHIP Program, which provides funds to local governments as an incentive to create partnerships that produce and preserve affordable homeownership and multifamily housing. The program was designed to serve very low, low and moderate income families.
Because SHIP is in the business of keeping people in housing, they are only able to consider funding for rehabilitation and not for demolition. According to Dingman, SHIP only allows $20,000 per home and only to those homeowners who have not received SHIP funding in the past.
The application for this SHIP funding cycle must be in by Jan. 30 and awards are given on March 2.
Dingman suggested that seven of the 10 properties could be accommodated with the funding from the CDBG grant funds and the other three may be accommodated if funding from SHIP is awarded to the City.
The two lowest bidders to conduct the work on the properties are Johnson’s from Newberry and Florida Homes from Alachua, said Dingman.
In response to questions concerning whether the bidders would be able to stick to their bids or would end up needing additional funding because of price increases, Dingman assured them that both bidders were aware of their commitment. He did mention that change orders might be necessary if something previously unknown is found during demolition or construction that needs to be addressed. Otherwise, he said he has not had any problems with contractors previously and has worked with several around the state.
Some homeowners have expressed concern about where they would go during construction, should leaving their homes be required. Dingman assured commissioners that provisions have been made for storage and temporary housing, should that be the case. He also said he talks with the homeowners regularly to make sure they know exactly what’s going on and when.
At this meeting, the Commission approved Dingman to proceed with the seven homeowners for which he has funding and to come back to the Commission for approval for the other three property owners, should funding become available for their projects.
Approval was conducted by roll call vote and Commissioners Tim Marden and Monty Farnsworth provided the dissenting votes on this issue.
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