PathStone offering help to Canandaigua homeowners

Published April 6, 2009, in the Daily Messenger.

By Margaret Poe

Canandaigua, N.Y.-The city wants to tap into some reserve housing funds to help low-income homeowners perform repairs.

PathStone, a Rochester-based nonprofit, has administered a home repair program for Canandaigua homeowners who earn less than 50 percent of the area median income for about a year, said Dale Prunoske, director for housing rehabilitation projects at PathStone.

But because the grant required the homeowners to pay half the repair costs, no one has taken steps to actually begin the work, he said. That’s even though residents have applied, he added.

That’s what the city wants to change. Officials want to use about $200,000 accumulated through repayment of low-interest housing loans to pay some of the homeowners’ costs, said Planning Director Rick Brown. The $200,000 trickled in over the years, he said, and must be used toward some kind of housing project.

The concept is simple, said Brown. But working out the details has taken a few months, and they’re still not complete, he said.

Prunoske said they want to use the city housing money to make up for the half of the construction costs not covered by the grant. They will try to reduce homeowners’ costs as much as possible, he said, but a homeowner might, for example, have to pay $500 toward the costs.

“We will try to do our best, but we can’t guarantee in every instance it will be totally free,” he said.

Brown said he expected the city Planning Committee to take up the issue next month. Prunoske said he hoped work on the projects will start this spring or summer.

PathStone, formerly known as Rural Opportunities, provides community development and human services throughout the region. This particular project, said Prunoske, is funded through federal housing funds distributed by the state.

Applicants can apply for up to $25,000 to complete their projects, he said. Before homes are approved, the organization conducts a full inspection to determine what needs to be done, he said.

While projects vary, there is a focus on weatherizing homes to make them more energy-efficient, he said.

Who Qualifies?
Homeowners in the city of Canandaigua who meet the income requirements. Applicants must earn less than 50 percent of the area median income, depending on the size of the family:
One-person household: $22,435
Two-person: $25,640
Three-person: $28,845
Four-person: $32,050
Five-person: $35,255
For more information or to apply: Call Ken Hawkins at PathStone, (585) 442-2030 ext. 204.

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