CDBG housing loans support healthy homes

Healthy living, safety and emotional well-being are just three of the by-products of Moorhead’s home rehabilitation loan program, CDBG.

The Community Development Block Grant program is one of the city’s longest running programs. Listening to people in the program emphasizes the importance to people and to keeping Moorhead’s housing units in repair.

Karen Berg recently enjoyed having the Wanzek Construction crew at her home for the United Way Day of Caring. She once worked at Wanzek. “It was a great day – a little windy for a couple of projects I wanted to do, but we made it work. The Wanzek crew showed up in force with tools, a ladder, and a lot of ambition. The gals went to work cleaning and scrubbing inside while the guys tackled the yard work, gutters, etcetera. The time went very quickly.”

The CDBG program meant she had a home for them to work on. “As far as the CDBG program, I can’t say enough good things. From the start, it was a very easy process and Tia (Braseth) is an excellent administrator. I was able to get a new furnace, my old one died, some beams to support my basement walls, and a new hot water heater.

“My pride and joy, however, is my new bathroom with a walk-in shower with seat, handrails and an elevated toilet. For a person with disabilities living alone, it just gives me a feeling of safety that I didn’t previously have and don’t think the average, healthy person could relate to. But, it truly means the world to me.

“I have always been extremely proud to call myself a citizen of Moorhead, as I feel that we have always been a step or two, or many more, ahead of our neighbors across the river. And, I applaud the efforts to make our community a better place for everyone, including our most vulnerable,” Berg said.

Tia Braseth is the Community Development Program Administrator for Moorhead. Braseth says the no interest loans are repayable upon sale of the property. Loans range from $20,000 to $25,000. Income limits apply to the program. “Not only has this program contributed to much needed improvements in Moorhead homes, it also doubled the CDBG line of credit as a result of loan repayments this year,” Braseth said.

“Lotta, lotta paperwork” is what Aunt Pat calls the program application, praising the guidance and suggestions Braseth gave her while she helped her niece file paperwork. Her niece has permanent brain injuries from a car accident 25 years ago. When her niece’s husband died, she returned to Moorhead and family.

In what may be Moorhead’s tiniest house, her niece has all new windows, an egress window, interior stairs, a railing on her front steps, bracing of the foundation, electrical work and lead paint abatement. Lead paint abatement is important in many of the homes with CDBG loans.

Draper Harlow has work ongoing right now. “Thanks to the CDBG loan, I am getting a new roof, new storm gutters, new windows, new front steps, bracing a wall in the basement and lead paint abatement. Obviously, the lead was a safety issue, but the front steps were crumbling and could have become a major safety issue so I’m glad they were replaced now.

“My home insurance required me to get a new roof this year, so I was so happy to get a CDBG loan. The roof had some rotten spots, and the ceiling in the bathroom was leaking. There were many layers of shingles. The new roof looks world’s better than the old one.

“The project I’m most excited for is new windows. New windows will make it tremendously more comfortable inside, and lower my heating bill by quite a bit. Looking to the future, the CDBG work in addition to the other work I’ve done to the house is building a lot of equity for when I eventually sell this home,” Harlow said.

The 30-day public comment period for the 2018 CDBG program continues through Oct. 27. Final consideration by the city council will be Nov. 13 for the proposed 2018 budget of $326,000.

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