Unused CHIP funds available


Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — The city is being encouraged to pursue the roughly $75,000 in grant funding that was not used in East Liverpool and Salem during the 2016 Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) program.

Marti Grimm of the county Community Action Agency (CAA), recently told city officials the agency was able to pool the unspent funds from the two cities and it will be available to people throughout the county — including Columbiana — based on need.

The CAA requested an extension on the 24-month grant period through Dec. 31 of this year for the remaining funding to be spent throughout the county. The grant period had ended on Oct. 31.

Grimm said it is the first time she ever had to request an extension.

“I couldn’t leave money on the table that we could use in Columbiana County,” she said.

She added that the money will target those in need of furnace replacements first.

“We are getting a lot of calls of emergency heat,” she said.

She added that the funds will need to be allocated quickly, as she does not want people to go long without heat during the cold weather.

The CHIP program is funded through the Ohio Development Services Agency, with funds administered locally through the CAA. The city became eligible to participate in the program in 2016 and was included in the partnership between the county and East Liverpool and Salem.

The program offers home ownership assistance, which includes down payment and closing cost assistance, and housing rehabilitation and repair.

Those interested in applying for the home repair funds through the program can do so by calling 330-424-4013. Homeowners eligible for the program must fall in the low-to-moderate income range, be current on property taxes, and meet secondary eligibility items associated to the home itself.

Grimm said people are already filling out applications for funding, and that nine new contractors have filed applications for the rehabilitation and repair work within the last few weeks. The agency is looking into a small business revolving loan to help interested contractors get some reimbursement for their work, she added.

The program was responsible for five private owner rehabilitation projects and four private owner home repair projects in Columbiana during the most recent grant period, for a total of $265,456 in 2016 CHIP funding used locally.