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H.E.L.P.: New financial assistance program offers funds for exterior home improvements

CORALVILLE COURIER EDITOR'S NOTEAs well-intended as this program is, this strikes me as a failure.  People shouldn't need such services, they should be doing home improvements on their own with no need for assistance.  This is an indictment on too much government, not allowing individuals to create and achieve.  Instead, we are creating dependency on the very thing that kills liberty - government restrictions and intervention.

The City of Iowa City has introduced a new loan program to help landlords and income-qualified homeowners make exterior improvements to their homes or rental properties in Iowa City’s University Impact Area. The program will provide financial assistance while also preserving neighborhood vitality by upgrading the safety and appearance of local housing stock. A map of the University Impact Area may be viewed online at http://bit.ly/24Fm6WY.

The Housing Exterior Loan Program (H.E.L.P.) offers qualifying homeowners and landlords zero-interest loans for half of the cost of eligible improvements, up to $10,000. Improvements may include:

  • Exterior painting, cleaning and repair
  • Siding repair or replacement
  • Roof repair or replacement
  • Windows and door repair or replacement
  • Fascia and trim improvements
  • Awning repair or installation
  • Porch repair
  • Sidewalk repair or other concrete or masonry repair or replacement
  • Landscaping
  • Dumpster screening
  • Exterior accessories, such as address plates, mailboxes, and shutters

Approved rental property owners will have five years to repay the no-interest loan. For income-qualified owner-applicants, loans will be set up on a deferred payment basis that will not have to be repaid as long as the home remains the owner’s primary residence. Repayment will be due immediately upon sale of the property, change in ownership, or conversion to rental property.

For more information about the H.E.L.P. program, including homeowner income guidelines or a loan application, visit www.icgov.org/project/housing-code-amendment-updates. Additional questions may be directed to the City’s Neighborhood and Development Services Department at 319-356-5230 or neighborhoods@iowa-city.org.

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