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Kings Beach residents benefit from low interest loans

JEREMY MORRISON, Sun News Service

KINGS BEACH – Through a low interest loan program, Kings Beach residents have the opportunity to make repairs or modifications to their houses. The loans are offered to economically disadvantaged individuals through Placer County’s Housing Rehabilitation Program.

“It’s to help low-income families preserve and maintain affordable housing,” said Holly Benson of the Rural California Housing Corporation, a nonprofit organization contracted by Placer County to manage the program.

The program’s funds, awarded to the county by the State of California’s Housing and Community Development Department, are available to any homeowner in the Kings Beach area. The homeowner does not have to reside in the house, though interest rates vary for owners who wish to make improvements on their rental property. It is also not a requirement for homeowners to be economically disadvantaged, so long as they agree to maintain the dwelling as affordable housing for 15 years.

Although the rehabilitation funds allotted for this year have already been exhausted, the county has submitted an application for an additional $250,000, according to Housing Program Coordinator Reed Flory.

“Anyone who has an interest is encouraged to contact us,” Flory said, adding that he expected the application to be approved. “We’re going to continue [the program] until there is no more demand, no more need.”

Eligible improvements for the program include installing energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, repairing plumbing and leaks, interior and exterior painting and replacing worn or broken cabinets and counter tops. Room additions are also acceptable improvements in the cases of overcrowded families and handicap accessibility.

Kings Beach resident Mike Fontana had his loan approved in December and is about to get started on repairs to his house. The improvements planned for Fontana’s home include paving of the driveway, rebuilding the deck and front steps and replacing windows and doors to make the house more energy efficient.

“Basically, the program allows you to upgrade things that already exist,” Fontana said.

Fontana said that representatives from the Rural California Housing Corporation visited his home to assess the requested work and determine the loan amount to be requested.

“They’re really efficient,” Fontana said of the corporation. “It went pretty smoothly.”

Before submitting an application, residents must first gather bids for the work that is to be considered. According to Flory, applicants may gather bids themselves, or have Rural California Housing Corporation collect the bids for them.

Once the bids are collected and the application is complete, the request goes to the county’s loan committee. The entire process, from beginning the application to its acceptance or denial, takes about two months, said Flory.

Individuals who are interested in applying for the rehabilitation funds are encouraged to contact Benson at (800) 995-0431, ext. 4425.


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