Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Proposal Would Provide Grants to Fix Mobile Homes for Needy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Proposal Would Provide Grants to Fix Mobile Homes for Needy

Article excerpt

Tom Price has heard many heart-wrenching stories about people living in rundown houses and dilapidated mobile homes, many of them elderly, mentally handicapped and physically disabled.

Listening to housing woes is a big part of his job as head of Clay County's State Housing Initiatives Partnership, which provides grants to repair or replace substandard housing.

But the money goes only so far, and mobile homes are not eligible for a dime, which leaves many people with nowhere to turn for help.

However, a proposed $750,000 Community Development Block Grant could help fill the gap for many elderly and disabled residents who live in mobile homes.

"We would be able to build them a house or buy them a new mobile home. There's a lot of people out there living in mobile homes that are beyond rehabilitation, and they need some help," Price said.

A typical example of the person the grant is intended to help, Price said, is a disabled man in his 50s who lives in a deplorable mobile home in the Penney Farms area on a $700 monthly Social Security check.

"It's an old, single-wide trailer held up by 2x4s," he said, "and it's beyond repair."

He said the man had sought help from the SHIP program for the past three years, but always had to be turned away because he lived in a mobile home.

The county hired a consultant last year to apply for the same type of housing grant but the state ran out of money before the application could be approved.

The request this year must be submitted by June 30. If approved, the money would be available next year to rehabilitate or replace "a minimum of 26, maybe 28, homes," Price said.

The County Commission will receive proposals June 8 from grant coordinators seeking a contract to administer the program. A public hearing on the issue will be held June 22.

The grant proposal was outlined by Price May 13 at a meeting of the County Commission's Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee.

Trying to rehabilitate a substandard mobile home would be a waste of money, Price told the committee. The economically prudent thing to do, he added, would be to replace it with a new mobile home or small house. …

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