City of Covington modernizes application process for homebuyer assistance, homeowner repair programs

New software adopted by the City’s Federal Grants/Housing Assistance Division enables applications to be made online for separate incentive programs that help people buy homes in Covington and make urgent repairs of unsafe conditions.

The change modernizes the application process to make it more convenient, efficient, quicker, and paperless, Federal Grants Manager Jeremy Wallace said.

“This will have all kinds of benefits for both those applying and those administering the programs,” Wallace said. “If you want to fill out the application on your lunch break or after hours, for example, you now can do that. At the same time, on our end we can now electronically attach inspection reports, bid documents and photos, plus write questions and notes directly onto the application from in the field, rather than into a notebook that we have to transcribe later.”

But Wallace stressed that City staff are still available to help anyone who doesn’t have a computer or needs help.

“This new system will not in any way hinder anyone from applying for City assistance,” he said.

The link for the Neighborly software and instructions for its use are on the City’s website under the two assistance programs on the Federal Grants page, under “Initiatives.” As indicated, you have to create a free account before you apply and will need an email address to do so.

Wallace said the Neighborly portal is used by cities across the country, especially for federal programs, and is secure. Another advantage to the new software is that anyone who applies can check the progress of their applications.

About the programs

Homeowner Repair Program: This program awards grants of up to $10,000 to help low-income homeowners with urgent repairs of conditions in their home that pose a threat to the life, health, and safety of people living there, such as certain electrical problems, plumbing issues, malfunctioning AC units and furnaces, leaky roofs, and wheelchair ramps. It’s helped 124 homeowners over the last 10 years.

• Homebuyer Assistance Loans: The program gives deferred, forgivable loans of up to $10,000 to help low-income homebuyers with lender-required down payment and closing costs. Since 2014, more than 386 home-buyers have received assistance to buy homes in virtually every neighborhood in Covington.

City of Covington