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Housing News: Neighborhood Improvement Project

House restored in NIP projectA Program to Help Low Income Homeowners Maintain their Properties

Work is in progress on properties accepted for the Neighborhood Improvement Project (NIP) for this year. The YMCA Community Development Corporation (CDC) is one of the agencies that do major home repair under this program. The program is funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars. The NIP program focuses on repairing building code violations on the properties accepted for work. The value of the repairs done on the homes can be $20,000 or more. A city inspector determines the type and quantity of repairs to be done. Typically, porches are rebuilt, roofs are replaced or repaired, and siding and trim is painted or replaced. Unless the windows have been previously replaced, all windows are removed and stripped and repainted or replaced. This lowers the risk for exposure to lead paint dust found on all old windows in the city. Code violations inside the home are also addressed. If the total estimated repairs needed to clear code violations exceeds the spending cap on a home, the application can be rejected. This is not a remodeling program. Repairs are done professionally by the agencies’ contractors to meet city code requirements. Many city homes have been repaired over the years by this program. Over time, it has become one of the most successful housing rehabilitation projects that use CDBG funds. The YMCA CDC NIP work is focused on the Riverwest and WAICO (near the new North Side YMCA) neighborhoods. This is a forgivable loan program for low-income homeowners. Successful applicants do not have to pay back the loan if they live in their homes for three years after being accepted into the program. This includes the total cost of repairs associated with a typical NIP project on exterior work on the home. If any mechanical (plumbing, electrical, heating system) repairs have to be made to meet code, the cost associated with the repair becomes a lien on the home. This means when the owner sells or vacates the property the city will ask that the cost associated with these types of repairs be paid back at the time of sale. The YMCA CDC is now accepting requests for applications for work to be done during next year’s construction season. Our funding will allow us to do 15 to 20 units next year. In order to be eligible for the NIP program your household must meet the following criteria:

  • You must own your home and have lived in it for at least two years.
  • Your name must be on the title, all names on title are applicants.
  • Your home must be insured.
  • Your property taxes must be paid.
  • You have not had service from the NIP program previously.
  • You have not received a home rehabilitation loan from the city previously.

In addition you must provide the following recent documentation:

  • Proof of income: e.g. copies of payroll checks, social security benefit letter
  • Copy of property tax bill
  • Copy of homeowner’s insurance policy showing policy number and expiration date. (If denied insurance, a recent letter of denial from insurance company)
  • Copy of utility bills, gas and electric
  • Copy of water bill
  • If you have a mortgage, a document indicating the balance due and monthly payment

The NIP application must be completed in full. Several pages of the application need to be notarized. If your home is a duplex, any rent received must be included as household income. You will receive information on possible lead based paint contamination of your home. Any children living in the property between the ages of one and six must have a lead blood test performed and the results submitted with the application. The information on the application is only good for six months. Interested applicants would be well advised to keep up-to-date records of the documents needed to complete the application. Sometimes waiting lists can be long, and it is necessary to supply up-to-date information when it is requested. Applications accepted now to be considered for 2003 work will need to be updated with new documentation of the required items (income, insurance, etc.) in January, 2003. Applications will be kept on file or on a waiting list for one year. We will close the application process when we have received sufficient applications to match the estimated funding available for 2003. Our goal is to identify homeowners qualified for the NIP program now so that we can maximize our ability to repair homes in our neighborhoods next spring. It is important to note that when applications are rejected, it is most often because of incomplete information, previous service, unpaid taxes, or lack of insurance. Only completed applications including documentation will be accepted. Vince Bushell, Housing Specialist, is available to answer questions on the application process. Applicants are responsible for filling out the forms and providing the documents needed. If you are interested in applying for the NIP program and live in the Riverwest or WAICO neighborhoods, please respond by filling out the information below and returning the form to YMCA CDC, 604 E. Center Street, Milwaukee WI 53212. You may call 263-1380 x13 if you have questions. Ask for Vince. Program Eligibility – Your household income cannot exceed the following:

Number of people in household Maximum eligible income (2002)
1 $23,500
2 $26,900
3 $30,250
4 $33,600
5 $36,300
6 $39,000
7 $41,650

Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 8 – September 2002