In July of 2016, Hawkins County received the grant through the HOME program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and awarded by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
THDA spokesman Wes Bunch told the Times-News earlier this week that Hawkins County still needs about seven applicants. Without enough successful applicants, the county will lose the grant.
“They were hoping to fix a dozen homes in the county, and they’ve only helped five so far. So they need seven more qualified applicants, or the county is at risk of losing the funding,” Bunch said. “You get $40,000 to repair each home and bring it back up to code. But those repairs have to bring everything back up to code. They can’t just fix one thing. They’ve got to be able to fix everything with that $40,000.”
Bunch added, “It’s geared towards older people, people with disabilities, lower income — basically people who could not afford to make the repairs on their own. One lady who received the grant in Lenoir City was bathing in a cattle trough. Her house had caught fire, and she was still living in it with the back end of the house caved in and part of the roof burned out. Through this program, that community was able to give her a new kitchen, new bathroom, the whole nine yards.”
There are no matching funds owed by the county. The grant is administered by the First Tennessee Development District and awarded by the county which hires contractors to do the work. The county is then reimbursed by the THDA.
Applicants must own the home and meet certain income requirements.
All grant funds must be spent within three years, which means the county has less than two years to complete the program.
Once applications are received, a priority list will be created based on the level of rehabilitation work required, as well as each applicant’s socioeconomic factors. Homes will be selected for the program based on the greatest need. Homes that cannot be brought up to code will not be considered for the project.
Anyone interested in applying for a grant can contact the Hawkins County mayor’s office at (423) 272-7359.