Picente: County, HomeOwnership Center Secure Grant to Help Senior Homeowners

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr .and UNHS NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center CEO Janice Forte today announced the county has secured $750,000 in funds from New York State Office of Community Renewal that will be used by The HomeOwnership Center to fund the County’s Housing Rehabilitation Program for Seniors living in Oneida County. The program assists low-to moderate-income homeowners with emergency repairs who live in Oneida County, excluding the cities of Utica and Rome. 

“Helping senior citizens maintain their homes is an investment in our communities,” Picente said. “A home is not only a major investment for our older residents, it is the center of their lives and memories. Helping a senior make necessary repairs allows seniors to stay in their homes, and adds to the fabric of the neighborhoods in which they live. The HomeOwnership Center has done a great job with this program, and we are very glad to continue this partnership.”

“When we stabilize a house that needs repairs, we not only help the homeowner who has lived there often for decades, we help the neighborhood look stronger and remain an attractive place to live,” said Forte. “Because energy efficiency is such a focus of this work, we are accomplishing the goals of reducing energy use while keeping older residents in the homes where they want to remain. We are happy to continue our partnership with the county to serve the people of our suburban and rural communities.”

The program addresses the needs of the senior citizen population living in substandard conditions throughout Oneida County in rural areas beyond the Cities of Utica and Rome.  This critical program has been delivered by The HomeOwnership Center and has been successful in providing:

  • Housing stabilization;
  • Safety and security for elderly, low-income families living in substandard conditions; and
  • Economic opportunities for local contractors and construction-related businesses operating in Oneida County and the immediate area.

The Housing Rehabilitation for Seniors Program in Oneida County assists households with incomes at or below 80% of HUD median income.  Additionally, many of the served applicants actually fall below 50% median income.  Direct assistance is provided in the form of a three-year forgivable loan program that serves to improve Oneida County’s housing stock by alleviating codes violations, bringing homes into compliance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and improving energy efficiency thereby reducing utility costs.   

The HomeOwnership Center (HOC) has more than 30 years of experience in housing rehabilitation and community development and has served as a sub-recipient to Oneida County for this program for several years.  

Applicants of the program must:

  • Have income at or below 80% of HUD median income;
  • Be at least 60 years of age;
  • Be current on all property taxes and homeowner’s insurance; and
  • Be the legal owner of the property or have documented life-use of the property. 

Additionally the property must:

  • Be a single family residence;
  • Be the applicant’s primary residence; and
  • Meet the definition of substandard or severely substandard. 

The HomeOwnership Center, in conjunction with Oneida County, has been administering the program since 2002. The partners have helped more than 100 seniors rehabilitate their homes. For more information about The HomeOwnership Center’s programs, please call 315-724-4197 or visit www.thehomeownershipcenter.org for more information.