The City of St. James was recently awarded a grant totaling $663,320 which will help with an important issue in the community.

Housing.

 The City of St. James first began the application process to receive the grant many months ago when a grant opportunity became available through a federal grant program called Community Development Block Grant Program.

 In Minnesota, the grant program is called “Small Cities Development Program,” and the City decided to pursue the grant to make improvements for the community.

 One of the things that the City did to help secure the grant was to hire Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to help with the application and the administration of the grant.  

 The city explained that as part of the application process they had to identify a target area for the funds to be focused on which was approved by the City Council.

 The City was awarded funds for 15 owner-occupied rehab houses, three single family rental rehab houses, and  eight 8 commercial rehab buildings.

 In order for a commercial building or home to be funded, through this grant there are certain requirements including income levels and requirements for what improvements can and can’t be done with the funding.

 

Rental properties

 

Eligible Improvements

 

Roofs

Heating

Doors

Windows

Insulation

Siding

Foundation

Electrical

Plumbing

 

Ineligible Improvements

 

Cabinets

Central Air Conditioning

Hot Tubs

Fences

Gazebos

Repairs to Detached Garages

Carpeting or Expensive Flooring

 

 

Commercial properties

 

Eligible Improvements

• Loan Funds must be used for:

• Code Violations

• Elimination of Lead Based Paint and

Asbestos

• ADA Building Accessibility

• Historic Renovation (if applicable)

• Loan Funds can be used for:

• Exterior Renovations

• Structural Repairs

• Mechanical Repairs/Replacements

• Electrical System Repairs

• Windows/Doors

• Signage/Awnings

• Energy Improvements

 

Ineligible Improvements

• Interior Electrical

Fixtures/Receptacles

• Plumbing Fixtures not related to

Accessibility Modifications

• Structural

Modifications/Additions

• Air Conditioning

• Interior Shelving

• Floor Covering

 

Owner- occupied homes

 

Eligible Improvements

Roofs & Gutters

Heating

Doors

Windows

Insulation

Siding

Foundation

Electrical

Plumbing

Smoke Detectors

 

Ineligible Improvements

 

Cabinets

 

Central Air Conditioning

 

Hot Tubs

Fences

Gazebos

 

Repairs to Detached Garages

Carpeting or Expensive Flooring

 

As part of the application process for the grant, one of the main components was to also involve the community something that Jamie Scheffer, St. James Economic Development Director felt was very important.

 “An important part of the application process was to receive “pre-applications” from property owners showing interest in the program. The more interest shown, the more competitive the application. Through the Artplace Initiative that Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership is undergoing, specifically our healthy housing initiative, we were able to utilize the new healthy housing “advocate” structure, where the grant paid advocates to do door to door outreach to Spanish speaking households in the target area. This was very successful and we were able to have a more competitive application with more participation from community members filling out the surveys. We also translated all communications so they were available in both English and Spanish.”

 The next step in the process now is that those who own property in the targeted area will be receiving a letter and a meeting will be set up in September to continue the process.

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