Last updated: July 10. 2014 4:49PM - 707 Views
By - cberendt@civitasmedia.com



Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentBoard of Commissioners chairman Jefferson Strickland speaks, flanked by commissioners Jarvis McLamb, left, and Albert Kirby. The board approved an administrative contract with The Wooten Company for state funds that will aid local home rehabilitation projects.
Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentBoard of Commissioners chairman Jefferson Strickland speaks, flanked by commissioners Jarvis McLamb, left, and Albert Kirby. The board approved an administrative contract with The Wooten Company for state funds that will aid local home rehabilitation projects.
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The N.C. Housing Finance Agency has made $7 million available to eligible organizations for the rehabilitation of scattered-site, owner-occupied homes in selected counties, including Sampson, under the 2014 cycle of the Single Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool (SFRLP).


Under this cycle of SFRLP14, funds will be made available to serve homeowners in more than 30 counties.


According to the NCHFA, the agency intends to serve 32-33 additional counties each successive year, on a three-year rotating basis pending the availability of funding. Successful applicants (one per county) will be awarded a set-aside of $170,000 for the rehabilitation of eligible units, with the option of receiving additional funds through a first-come, first-served SFR “loan pool.”


Sampson finance officials said this week the county had been approved for the 2014 program. The county’s initial set aside amount of funds is $170,000 for three units.


“Upon completion of two units, Sampson County can request setup of additional units,” noted Juanita Brewington, senior finance technician. “With these Single Family Rehabilitation (SFR) funds, we propose to service 15 units, with rehabilitation work complete and grant closeout prior to June 30, 2017.”


Household incomes must be below 80 percent of the area median income to be eligible for the funding.


“The focus of the program is on financially feasible, moderate rehabilitation,” the NCHFA states. “SFR funds are targeted to owner-occupied units, occupied by households with elderly and/or disabled full-time household members or owner-occupied units with lead hazards and a child 6 years old or younger.”


The administrative services for the SFR program in Sampson will be administered by the Wooten Company. With the 2011 SFR funds, Sampson County and the Wooten Company were successful in servicing 11 homes, with Wooten being the administrator of that program as well.


The county also worked with Wooten as part of the Community Development Block Grant-Scattered Sites Housing program, whose primary objective is similarly to improve the housing conditions of very low-income households (at or below 50 percent of area median income, as opposed to SFR’s 80 percent).


Eligible to receive $400,000 in CDBG Scattered Site funding, Sampson applied in the 2010 cycle.


In all, there were 86 applicants for the program, of which 48 were eligible and ranked on a points scale according to income and special populations. The top 20 were inspected to determine the housing needs, with additional points assigned based on needs such as severe water, sewer and housing conditions.


The six homes identified as having the most need were replaced. The project was closed out at the end of last year.


Commissioners have noted the need for such funding, especially in light of the economy. Housing itself has always been a primary need of the county as a whole, Chairman Jefferson Strickland has said.


The Board of Commissioners authorized execution of the contract with Wooten as part of its consent agenda during its regular meeting earlier this week. Once the contract is is submitted to NCHFA, the county can begin the process of soliciting for applications for assistance.


Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.

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