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Low- to moderate-income homeowners in the Ninth Street Park and Lincoln-Central Neighbors could receive up to $20,000 each to make needed or aesthetic improvements.

But unless those homeowners let City Hall know they have a need for financial assistance by Tuesday, the money source will dry up, said Carl Malysz, director of community development.

The city plans to apply for a $350,000 homeowner housing rehabilitation grant through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The city’s application deadline is Feb. 28.

“We must build a case to demonstrate that not only do local officials think we have a need (for these funds), but we also must have a headcount of those who might be eligible,” Malysz said.

While the money would technically be a low-interest loan, he said that should not discourage callers.

“The IHCDA allows us to be flexible for repayment,” Malysz said. “In fact, they will allow the value of the loan to be forgiven over a few years.”

If the grant is approved, there will be three geographical tiers established for consideration. Once interest wanes in a higher tier, eligibility drops down to the next lower level, Malysz said.

Top tier: Income-eligible owner-occupants residing within the Ninth Street Park neighborhood.

Middle tier: Income-eligible owner-occupants residing within the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood.

Lower tier: Income-eligible owner-occupants residing within the Columbus city limits.

“While those in the Ninth Street Park area, especially the elderly, are the first priority, 80 percent of those homes are rentals,” Malysz said. “While most of the homes in the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood are also rentals, they still have a greater number of homeowner-occupied houses than Ninth Street Park.

The city is expected to learn whether it gets the grant as early as this spring, Malysz said.

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