Low-income Sacramento residents could soon get some help paying for emergency home repairs.
In a unanimous vote last week, the Sacramento City Council approved $500,000 in grant funds for the Justice for Neighbors Emergency Home Repair Program. City officials say the goal of the pilot program is to maintain Sacramento’s aging housing stock and keep people housed
Shannin Stein is chief operating officer with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento, which will oversee repairs. She says the program could prevent some homeowners, including older residents, from falling into homelessness.
“There aren’t a lot of safety nets built in for seniors who don’t have the ability to address the repair issues and the long-term care and maintenance of their home,” Stein said. “It is not difficult to go from being fully comfortably housed to being unhoused.”
Jose Mendez, the city’s code enforcement manager, says grant applications should be available by early June. Households can apply for up to $15,000 worth of “critical health and safety repairs,” he said.
“It can go as major as a roof repair to as minor as a replacement of a water heater or just general upkeep and maintenance,” Mendez explained.
Additional examples include the repair or replacement of substandard electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning and heating systems, he said.
To qualify for the program, households must:
- Have a gross annual income at or below 80% of the local area median income;
- Be a single-family and owner-occupied household;
- Have code violations that would qualify it as a Substandard or Dangerous Building pursuant to the Sacramento City Code.
Cathy Creswell, board president for the nonprofit Sacramento Housing Alliance, said SHA supports targeted home repair programs, which she described as “critical components of an anti-displacement strategy.” SHA advocates for safe, affordable housing.
“Too often, low income homeowners, especially elder populations, do not have the resources to adequately maintain their homes,” Creswell added in a written statement. “This can create unsafe living conditions as well as leaving the homeowners vulnerable to displacement, through code enforcement or predatory speculators who often offer to purchase the home for less than the real value.”
Revenue from code violation fines will pay for the program, as will the city’s Housing Trust Fund. While the primary goal is to keep families in their homes, officials added that the program will also help the city save money by resolving code violations faster and more effectively.
Contact CapRadio reporter Chris Nichols at [email protected]
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.