Mecosta County homeowners may be eligible for repair assistance

MECOSTA COUNTY — Mecosta County residents in need of emergency home repair may be eligible for assistance through an emergency home repair program administered by the Big Rapids Housing Commission.

Linda Miller, housing commission assistant director of programs, recently told the Mecosta County Board of Commissioners that in 1990, the county received an allocation of money to do emergency home repairs for families of limited income.

As part of that program, she said, participants held a mortgage with the county that required little or no interest paid, and little or no payments made until the property was sold and no longer occupied by the participant.

“We have a lot of people that received a $15,000 or $20,000 mortgage years ago that are now passing away and the estate has to pay it off, so there is a lot of that money out there,” Miller said.

“I have to report each year how much money we received in mortgage payoffs, and if it is more than $35,000, the options are to redistribute the money for emergency repairs or give it back (to the state),” she added.

For the past two years, they have received over the $35,000 threshold in mortgage payoffs, she noted.

“In 2019, the income was $66,000 and we spent $34,000, so a portion of that had to be returned,” Miller said. “That was mostly due to COVID. Last year we received $60,000. We did two roofs, and we tested a home for lead.”

“Right now, the county has $49,500 for this year,” she added. “We are currently working on a roof project. We are spending every penny that we can, but we need approval of homeowner occupied, low income residences.”

Eligible emergency repairs include, but are not limited to, replacing a leaky roof; replacing hot water and/or heating equipment; plumbing repairs; septic tanks and other related projects.

Funding is available on a first come-first qualified basis. Homeowners must be current on their taxes and insurance.

For loans over $2,500, a zero interest lien will be placed on the property, which will be due in full when the property is sold or otherwise disposed of.

For more information or an application, contact the Big Rapids Housing Commission at 231-796-8689 or visit bigrapidshousing.org.