Published in the Morning Journal, February 11, 2018

COLUMBIANA — Homeowners in the city interested in taking advantage of the county’s Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) program this year should fill out applications soon, City Manager Lance Willard said.

The city joined the program in 2016 after becoming eligible for the first time, and received up to $350,000 that year for housing projects that met the program’s requirements.

The funding was part of the $1.5 million awarded to the county that year. The money comes from the Ohio Development Services Agency, with the program administered locally through the county’s Community Action Agency (CAA).

The program offers home ownership assistance, which includes down payment and closing cost assistance, and housing rehabilitation and repair.

Funding for projects is available to those meeting low-to-moderate income eligibility requirements. Applicants must also be current on property taxes.

Projects must go through a closed bid process from a list of local contractors, and must also pass a lead clearance test.

Willard said the CAA already has three of five private rehabilitation units identified and in different phases of completion and four of eight home repair units identified and in different phases of completion.

He also said the agency will be going through eligibility determinations on applications already received over the next few weeks.

“They do this in phases to ensure they have enough participating contractors to bid,” he explained.

Interested homeowners within city limits may call the CAA at 330-424-4013.