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Funds could help repair manufactured homes

City of Newberg and Yamhill County housing agency will partner in application for state money

Residents living in manufactured homes could be eligible for grant funds to complete repairs and other vital work if the city is approved for some $400,000 of state funding through a housing rehabilitation program.

The program would provide eligible low-income homeowners with funds to complete tasks such as lead and asbestos testing, treatment and abatement; septic repairs; improving handicapped access; weatherization and much more.

If approved, the city would benefit about 120 people through the project, Community Development Director Doug Rux estimated, all of whom would fall into the low or moderate income category.

The city has applied for and been successful with the program in the past, but several changes in the state’s funding requirements mean this time the program will reach a wider population.

For instance, in the past the program required homeowners to own the lot their residence is located on, essentially eliminating all residents of manufactured home parks, but since 2013 the state has been allowing the funds to be distributed as grants, meaning property ownership is not a factor.

The grants would not be used to fund remodeling or similar projects, but will focus on more immediate health and safety needs.

Darcy Reynolds, with the Housing Authority of Yamhill County, which will partner with the city in applying for the program, addressed some of the reasons larger long-term improvement projects are not part of this program.

With 200 people, 78 of them from Newberg, on HAYC’s waitlist for funds to assist in home maintenance, the agency wants to make that money stretch as far as possible, Reynolds explained, which pencils out to limiting assistance to immediate needs.

One of the program’s restrictions is that a homeowner cannot be provided funds equaling more than 50 percent of their home’s value and many of the manufactured homes have lost much of their value over time.

“As you can imagine, some of these properties that’s really inhibitive,” Reynolds said.

Newberg area Habitat for Humanity director Rick Rogers testified in favor of the program, noting that “it is desperately needed in our community.”

He said the roughly 600 manufactured home units in the city are the largest supplier of low- or very low-income housing and that the small repair reimbursement program put on by Habitat for Humanity has been popular every time it’s offered.

The council voted to apply for the funding and the city and HAYC will likely be notified in late December whether the funds will be awarded. With the number of people on the waitlist for help, Reynolds said she is confident the city would be approved.