Truckee offers zero percent interest, larger loans | SierraSun.com

Truckee offers zero percent interest, larger loans

Scott Hess

Help is here for low-income Truckee residents who need to make repairs on a home.

In an effort to use a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant received in 2001, the Town of Truckee Town Council revised its Housing Rehabilitation Guidelines last Thursday. The changes made will make loans for rehabilitation more accessible for low-income residents.

Under the revision, the maximum amount that will be loaned is raised from $40,000 to $100,000 and the interest rate for loans will be reduce from 3 to zero percent. The loans must be paid back in 15 years.

The loans are available to low-income homeowners or renters. The loans are also being made available to owners who rent or intend to rent to low-income residents.

The funds can be used for repairs to the foundation, the roof, windows, insulation, plumbing, electrical or other work needed to maintain the residence.

According to a statement from the Town of Truckee, “borrowers are not required to make monthly payments on the rehabilitation loan.” They can pay it back as they like, but it must be paid in 15 years, or if the property is sold.

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There are some stipulations, however. The 2001 Housing Rehabilitation Program Guidelines, which were formed with the assistance of Nevada County, mandate required improvements in addition to any repairs.

According to the rehabilitation guidelines, the owner must upgrade the electrical equipment grounding and bonding system, upgrade the smoke detectors to the current uniform building code, install carbon monoxide detectors if any gas-powered equipment is used, and upgrade to circuit breaker outlets (GFCI outlets) in the kitchen, bathroom and exterior areas.

Improvements not included in the loan are landscaping, security systems, television antennas, remodeling or non-energy efficient improvements.

Truckee Town Planner Duane Hall said that even though Truckee is effectively losing money by eliminating the interest rate, the reward the town receives is greater. Money paid back from the loans, he said, can be used in any facet of affordable housing – not just rehabilitation.

Hall said the money can be used for many different purposes, including housing loans, down payments or incentives for building new affordable housing.

“When we get it back, we have much more flexibility for how we use that money for affordable housing,” Hall said.

If Truckee uses the grant money, it has a better chance of receiving grants in the future, he said. Any money that is not used gets returned to the federal CDBG program.

Also, Hall said not many people were taking advantage of the 3 percent rate, so Truckee decided to, “see if we can get some additional interest for these loans.”

In response to the revisions, Truckee has set up an informational meeting at the Truckee Community Development Department on Aug. 6, from 1-4 p.m.

For more information on the loans or the Housing Rehabilitation Program, visit http://www.townoftruckee.com or http://www.mynevadacounty.com/housing, or visit the Town of Truckee Community Development Department at 10183 Airport Road.