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Bernardston still has chance for Community Development Block Grants

BERNARDSTON — There’s still a chance to get on the list for the coming round of Community Development Block Grants.

Bernardston is the lead in a four-town application for a grant that would provide $787,600 for housing rehabilitation loans and lead risk assessment grants, as well as $15,152 to plug a gap in Meals on Wheels funding.

Co-applicants Bernardston, Sunderland and Shutesbury each have six housing rehabilitation projects on waiting lists, and Conway has four.

Loans are usually for $30,000 or less, though extenuating circumstances can raise the limit to $35,000. Each town has requested the maximum $35,000 loan and an $800 lead assessment, for each project on its current waiting list.

If actual loans are less than $35,000, the towns will be able to use the remaining amount for more loans.

Loans are offered at zero percent interest, with half the principal forgiven if the recipient does not sell or transfer the home for 15 years, payment of the remaining half to occur when sold. If sold before the 15 years are up, payback will be prorated.

Housing rehabilitation loans are distributed on the basis of need. They are given to low- and moderate-income households, with specific income limits.

With a frozen budget and rising costs, Meals on Wheels funding falls short of its $8.49 per meal cost by $1.58 each. Last year, it served 59 elders in the four towns, and will add 12 more this year, for a total of 11,929 meals over an 18-month period.

Meals on Wheels delivers hot lunches to homebound residents over 60 years old, at no cost to the seniors.

To apply for a housing rehabilitation loan, contact Bruce Hunter at the Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, at bhunter@fcrhra.org, or 413 863-9781, ext. 133.

To sign up for Meals on Wheels, call the Franklin County Home Care Corp., at 413-773-5555.

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