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Help for homeowners Allison K. Sampité-montecalvo | Sat, Sep 22 2012 12:00 PM

The National City City Council approved on Tuesday new program parameters for its hous­­ing rehabilitation program, which increases the opportunity to better assist lower income homeowners in repairing aging housing.

In its 2010-2015 Housing and Urban Development Consolidated Plan, the need was identified to provide an ownership housing rehabilitation program to assist with preserving and maintaining affordable housing.

National City housing manager Alfredo Ybarra proposed several changes to the program Tuesday, including increasing the loan amount from $40,000 to $60,000, with a possible grant of up to $10,000 for lead hazard remediation.

“The other amount is insufficient to cover the costs of lead remediation,” Ybarra said. “Our housing stock is old and requires a lot of work. Eighty-five percent of our housing stock is more than 30 years old and 22 percent is more than 50 years old.”

Staff also requested that contractor bids be changed from 10 percent to 15 percent.

“Staff provides each homeowner with a cost estimate and when we put it out to bid, it typically comes in within 10 percent,” Ybarra said. “But with the volatility of the market and contractors going out of business, it’s been more difficult to get within the 10 percent so we asked for 15 to allow for more flexibility.”

Ybarra said the changes will assist homeowners who still want to invest in their properties but purchased their homes at the height of the last real estate cycle and saw values go down or stagnate during the recession.

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