NEW CASTLE City to seek housing funds input

City officials will request about $400,000 from the state.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- City officials want to hear residents' ideas about how to spend any state funding awarded for housing rehabilitation.
The city council will plan a public hearing sometime in March before applying for a state grant to rehabilitate moderate- to low-income homes.
City Administrator John DiMuccio said low-moderate income limits as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development range from $14,000 per year for a single-person household to an annual income of $43,400 for a household of eight people.
He suggested the council limit the funding to owner-occupied homes only, not rental properties.
DiMuccio said that because of federal regulations regarding lead-based paint, any of the housing rehabilitation projects might also include lead-based paint abatement. That could add about $5,000 to the cost of a rehabilitation project on any home, he said.
He said there's no guarantee how much money the state will award to New Castle for housing rehabilitation, if any, but city officials will seek about $400,000. DiMuccio told the council at Tuesday's caucus he'd like to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development by the end of March.
He said the city should apply no later than that to receive any grants by the end of the year or early in 2004.
DiMuccio suggested the city continue to offer housing rehabilitation on a lottery basis, or by choosing a particular neighborhood or age group.
He said that if the council chose to rehabilitate a neighborhood rather than conducting random rehabilitation throughout the city, state officials might consider awarding funds to renovate streets and sidewalks in the area as well, he said.

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