PITTSFIELD — The At Home in Pittsfield program is set to cover the cost of exterior renovations to 19 homes — three of which already are complete.
PITTSFIELD — Nearly two years after she proposed it, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer won support Tuesday for a plan to help residents fix up the o…
PITTSFIELD — Seniors with pensions that aren’t keeping up, young professionals saddled with student debt and single mothers dreaming of their own home. These are the people Mayor Linda Tyer had …
City officials say that in the seven months since the grant program launched, they have seen enough interest from residents to put another $500,000 behind the program — this time from the city’s allocation of federal coronavirus relief money.
“We had 83 applicants, and we only had $500,000,” Mayor Linda Tyer said during a news conference Wednesday to announce the second round of funding.
“That speaks to the popularity of this program and the need, and we want to be as responsive as possible, which is why we feel very strongly that the American Rescue Plan can be another resource of funds for this important program.”
Housing Specialist and Fair Housing Officer Henide Harvender said that of those 83 applicants Tyer mentioned, 19 met the city’s requirements that properties be owner-occupied, no more than two units, and that the household’s annual income not exceed 120 percent of the area’s median income. That means a single-person household could make up to $72,600 in 2021 and qualify for the program.
While a little fewer than half the approved applicants still are getting estimates for their projects, the city estimates that once those estimates come in, the program will have used about $421,000 of the original $500,000. The city caps disbursements at $25,000 per applicant to cover exterior projects — such issues as reroofing, gutter and downspout improvements, window and door replacements, and porch and chimney repairs.
How we got here
The At Home in Pittsfield has been a passion project of Mayor Linda Tyer’s, first proposed in 2019, and then again in 2020.
Tyer’s original proposal called for using $250,000 from the General Electric Economic Development Fund to create a zero-interest loan for low-income homeowners to use to fix up the exterior of their properties.
That proposal failed when members of the City Council pushed back on using money from the GE fund to cover residential projects instead of commercial ones.
“Having a community of homes that have value is economic development,” Tyer said Wednesday, maintaining her disagreement with the council’s logic. “Providing opportunities for our contractors to engage in this work and employ people, that’s economic development.”
By 2020, the makeup of the council had changed, as had some of the …….