The Lake Havasu City Council finalized the city’s annual application for Community Development Block Grant funds at its meeting on Tuesday, shortly after reaffirming Havasu’s intention to continue to use that money to assist qualifying low income homeowners with housing repairs.
Each year Havasu is awarded CDBG money through the State of Arizona Department of Housing, which is charged with distributing the grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and urban Development to cities, towns, and counties in Arizona. In Fiscal Year 2019-20 Havasu received a little more than $380,000 in CDBG, which was about $40,000 more than it had gotten in the previous year.
Lake Havasu City Manager Jess Knudson said the city is able to help about 20 homeowners per year with the CDBG money, but there is such a large demand for the assistance that successful applicants currently have to wait about two years before the work is completed.
Knudson said city staff, led by Grant Administrator Holly Morin, assesses the needs of qualified applicants, sends the project out to bid, and selects and hires a contractor to do the needed work when money for the project comes available.
“Home repair enables low income homeowners to remain in their homes by improving health and safety conditions, increasing accessibility, and improving functional abilities in their homes,” Morin said. “This program allows homeowners to age in place, as well not becoming homeless due to non-livable conditions in their homes.”
Knudson said CDBG is most commonly used to address safety or code enforcement issues for low income residents.
“Generally speaking we are dealing with roofs, air conditioners, and those types of improvements,” Knudson said. “It goes a long ways to help the disabled residents in our community as well as our seniors.”
Havasu is always accepting CDBG applications from local homeowners. Applications are available on the city’s website at lhcaz.gov, or they can be picked up at city hall. Morin said anyone who would like more information can contact her by calling city hall.
Knudson said the city is always looking for more contractors to complete the needed repairs. He said interested contractors can also contact Morin for more information.
Havasu’s CDBG housing rehabilitation program is aimed towards low income residents, and successful applicants must meet several criteria in order to qualify.
For this program, “low income” is defined as total household income that is 80 percent or less than the median income for the area. According to census data, the median household income in Havasu is about $51,000 – so a qualifying household would make about $41,000 a year or less.
Additionally, the property in question must be located within the city limits, and the owner must certify that it is their primary residence. The owner must also be current with their mortgage, property taxes, water-sewer-trash bill and sewer loan – and they must carry homeowners insurance.