Several homes being improved in Bradford

A house in Bradford, Pa., got a new lease on life thanks to funding efforts through Bradford city government.

BRADFORD, Pa. — Look around Bradford, and you’ll notice plenty of housing rehabilitation work.

Some of that work isn’t by private homeowners. Rather, that labor is an effort by the Bradford city government.

“The importance of this rehab work cannot be understated. This maintenance and improvement of the housing stock is critical to the long-term viability of the community and any community and economic development activity or effort,” said Jeff Andrews, housing rehabilitation director and construction manager in the Office of Economic and Community Development. “Also the sustaining of the tax base is critical to the local, school and county to support the varied services they provide.”

In addition, rehab work improves quality of life for immediate neighbors and the community as a whole, he said.

“The city has been doing housing rehabilitation work for many years,” said Jeff Andrews. “The city invested $1,227,306 in the Elm Street Project Pride Neighborhood for owner-occupied rehabilitation from 2007 to 2014.”

Right now, the city has $500,000 in funding for the Second Ward Neighborhood project area, part of the Neighborhood Partnership Program and a commitment of Community Development Block Grant entitlement funds for homeowner rehab.

The city government and Neighborhood Partnership Program are also offering facade improvement funds, too, Andrews said.

At this time, there are six projects in the works in the Neighborhood Partnership Program neighborhood, and others will be pursued as officials continue checking off the list of applicants.

“Applications are processed on a first-come basis pending the availability of funds,” Andrews said.

The rehab project process includes the owner applying for funding, verifying ownership and income eligibility, conducting an inspection for code issues, developing rehab specifications, bidding the project, monitoring the work and closing out the project, he said.

“Any facade projects are for exterior improvements and are a matching grant with the owner participating for half the project costs,” Andrews said.

For the last nine years, city government has been focusing rehab work money on project areas in the city, per statement requirements, Andrews said.

“We had continued to do some scattered-site rehab work utilizing a program called R&R funding, although it has limited availability,” he said. “The homes are chosen from a list of applicants the OECD maintains, and we proceed based on the owners’ qualification for and the availability of funds.”

For more information, call the Office of Economic and Community Development at (814) 368-7170.

(Contact reporter Alex Davis at a.davis@bradfordera.com)

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