Watch Now: Decatur Launches Home Repair Assistance Program

Watch Now: Decatur Launches Home Repair Assistance Program

DECATUR – Starting Monday, some Decatur homeowners will have the opportunity to apply for grants to fund their home repair projects.

The City of Decatur officially launched its new Small Owner-Occupied Home (SHIP) Improvement Program on Thursday, a grant program for low-to-moderate income homeowners in Decatur’s urban core.

City officials hope the project will lead to improvements in some of Decatur’s declining housing units.

“Neighborhood revitalization has been a major goal of Decatur City Council for many, many years, but it’s not just about tearing down abandoned homes and old buildings,” said Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. “It’s about trying to build community.”

The city’s goal, Moore Wolfe said, is not to tear everything down, but to “grow these neighborhoods back.”

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Moore Wolfe and other city officials on Thursday presented a check for $450,000 to the Northeast Community Fund, which will provide the grants to Decatur residents.

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The board approved the funding earlier this month. The program is just one of many neighborhood revitalization efforts supported by funds from the city’s U.S. federal bailout.

Northeast will begin accepting SHIP applications on Monday. Representatives of the organization said that the program will help improve the living conditions of many deserving members of the community.

“Given the mission of our organization, it was difficult for us to hear that we had people in our community who wanted to stay in their homes but were living on paycheck to paycheck, or even better, on a living income. fixed, and couldn’t afford to do it or needed repairs to their home,” said Angel Lawrence, executive director of Northeast.

“Everyone has a right to food and shelter,” said Taylor Hardy, the agency’s director of microfinance.

Homeowners must meet several requirements to be eligible for SHIP, including owning a home in the designated neighborhood and being free of overdue taxes or unpaid charges owed to the City of Decatur.

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SHIP will cover a variety of qualifying home repairs including, but not limited to: roofs, porches and exterior steps, foundation and structural improvements, accessibility improvements for occupants with disabilities, and lead remediation.

Additional SHIP eligibility criteria, including the designated neighborhood map and a full list of eligible and ineligible repairs, are available on the city’s website.

Cordaryl Patrick, director of community development for the city of Decatur, said the city has seen declining housing conditions over the past decade.

SHIP, he said, will help change that.

“This program is designed to help our great citizens of Decatur with much needed help to improve their living conditions and change the generational culture narrative, to say it is not okay to live in Decatur with a hole in the roof,” Patrick said. “It’s not okay to live in a house in Decatur with lead and asbestos. It’s not okay to live in a house in Decatur with boarded up windows. It’s not okay to live in a home in Decatur that has accessibility issues and inefficient utilities.

Contact Taylor Vidmar at (217) 421-6949. Follow her on Twitter: @taylorvidmar11.

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