Small Grants for Home Repairs and Emergency Rental Assistance

At its November 2 meeting, the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust (the Trust) voted a total of $40,000 to be made available to qualified homeowners for needed home repairs, over the next 12months. The awards, at a maximum of $4,000 per grant, are intended for homeowners to make necessary repairs to their homes for safety and health reasons. Applications are due by November 16 and awards will be made in January 2021.

In September, the Trust allocated $40,000 for temporary rental assistance to households impacted financially by Covid-19.

Economic Development Manager Alyssa Sandoval reported that she has received many calls about the small grant program. The most recent awards were made in 2018; there were none in 2019. Interested homeowners should check the Town’s website for the application:  https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif2781/f/uploads/small_grant_10_2020_final.pdf.

One of the requirements of this program is that the applicant must obtain estimates from three professional contractors to submit with their application. In today’s pandemic world, this may be something of a deterrent.

Trust member Alice Sun pointed out that finding contractors to do home repairs and renovation is especially difficult now. Sandoval suggested that if an applicant can find at least two contractors that might be sufficient. Awardees have six months to spend the money for repairs. Some of the ways the funds have been used in past years include:

  • Minor plumbing or electrical work
  • Light carpentry
  • Doorbell switch
  • Window repairs
  • Broken or clogged gutters or downspouts
  • Door repairs or replacements, step, or porch repairs
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Bathroom grab bars

Emergency Rental Assistance Update

This program offers temporary rental assistance in the form of a grant and is administered through a collaboration with the Regional Housing Services Office (RHSO.) The Trust voted at its September 28 meeting to fund the program. The grants will be paid directly to landlords and will range from $350 to $800 monthly (depending on the number of bedrooms) for a total of four months. The application is available at  https://www.rhsohousing.org/bedford/urgent-alerts/covid-19-resources-bedford-households.

Liz Valenta, RHSO staff member, reported at the November meeting that five applications for temporary rental assistance had been received; four were eligible and one was not approved as there had been no loss of income.  To date, $8600 has been committed to those applicants and there are other applications pending. Valenta said some applicants said they had found the information via a flyer that was handed out at a food pantry. The program is still accepting applications and there is $31,400 remaining in the account.

Currently, members of the Trust are: Christina Wilgren, chair, Alice Sun, Edward Pierce (Select Board), Sarah Stanton, Town Manager, Shawn Hanegan, Planning board, and Bopha Malone, Select Board.  There are two At-Large vacancies.  As of this date the Trust holds $180,000 in its account. The Community Preservation Fund is a major source of funding for the Trust.

The next meeting of the Trust is set for January 11, 2021 at 6 pm.


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