Rowan County Housing Authority receives $150,000 grant

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 30, 2020

By Liz Moomey

SALISBURY — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the Rowan County Housing Authority a grant of $150,000.

The grant is a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, an economic stimulus package, passed in March.

Across the state, 88 public housing authorities received grants totaling $16.5 million.

“North Carolina’s housing authorities have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and are in dire need of assistance,” Sen. Thom Tillis said in a statement. “I was proud to support the CARES Act that provides this much-needed assistance so these housing authorities can maintain services and support North Carolinians in need.”

The funding was made available through HUD’s Public Housing Operation Fund, which received additional funding through the CARES Act. Tillis, Sen. Richard Burr, Rep. Ted Budd, R-13, and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8,  supported the CARES Act.

The money will provide North Carolina communities with financial resources to manage and maintain resident services and to support and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in public housing.

Rowan County Housing Authority Executive Director Sara Potts said in a voicemail Wednesday she was not aware of the grant.

The housing authority didn’t respond to returned phone calls about impacts due to the pandemic.

The Salisbury CDC is business as usual, according to Executive Director Chanaka Yatawara.

The Salisbury CDC continues to do owner-occupied rehabilitations on the exterior of homes for low-to-moderate income home owners. Yatawara said they have reached out to the contractor and homeowner to ensure they are comfortable with going forward with the work during the pandemic.

Under the West End Housing Revitalization and Rehabilitation Program, owners can receive a lien of as much as $20,000 to rehabilitate their home. The lien would be reduced by 20% every five years until there was no balance. 

The program has provided new roofs, new windows, gutters  and other exterior improvements for home owners in the West End.

The Salisbury CDC receives $400,000 for the program, which covers the rehabilitation for about 20 properties.

Yatawara said the Salisbury CDC may see an impact in funding for the next fiscal year. In the Salisbury city council budget meeting Tuesday, it was proposed the West End transformation funding would be cut in half. Yatawara said they are currently not taking new applications.

Yatawara said the need for owner-occupied rehab will increase due to the financial toll of the COVID-19 and more homeowners are needing assistance to fix up their homes.

Otherwise the Salisbury CDC has not been touched by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The CDC has moved its homeowner assistance class to online. The class helps with the process of buying a home, like personal finance education and working with a bank to secure a loan.

The CDC offers phone consulting through 704-216-2738. The staff continues to work from the West Bank Street office and practices social distancing.

The Rowan County United Way has reached out to the Salisbury CDC to assist with a potential increase in foreclosures since some homeowners may have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Yatawara said some homeowners have called asking for advice on possible foreclosures. He predicted there will be a greater need to assist with mortgage payments in the future.