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Spencer to receive $750,000 CDBG grant for home repair

SPENCER — A major federal grant will help some Spencer residents perform needed repairs to their homes.

The town has been awarded $750,000 though the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division for its Neighborhood Revitalization program.

The funding will be paid out of the department’s Community Development Block Grant funds, awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Rural Development. Spencer was notified on Tuesday evening.

“I couldn’t have asked for better timing,” Mayor Jonathan Williams said. “We will enjoy Thanksgiving with extra gratitude and anticipation of the many families that will benefit from this investment in coming years.”

Funds may be spent on rehabilitation, acquisition, emergency repairs or other eligible housing activities.

Spencer’s project will meet livability program principles of expanding location and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation. It is meant to enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods.

The grant is a milestone for the town Board of Aldermen’s strategic plan. Interim Town Manager Dave Treme has created a group to plan how to administer the grant.

“There is much wisdom in a multitude of counsel,” said Treme. “We appreciate our group of community members who helped guide our application, as well as our partners at the Salisbury Community Development Corporation who assisted with the application process and will administer the program on behalf of us.”

Spencer’s Interim Planning Director Joe Morris and Salisbury Community Development Corporation Executive Director Chanaka Yatawara will work to identify homeowners who have property repair needs within Spencer. Over the next two to three years, up to $72,000 in repairs per qualified low-to-moderate income homeowner will help restore about a dozen properties in town.

Assistant Town Manager Peter Franzese said the funding could help restore historic homes in Spencer and improve property values on existing homes while maintaining an affordable local housing market. The town already provides some small grants from local money.

“It’s very significant,” Franzese said. “It’s our understanding we haven’t done this before and it’s an infusion of federal dollars that can go a long way.”

Town staff will receive guidance on the award in the weeks to come, and then Town and Salisbury CDC staff will begin work to accept the grant and identify potential recipients. The Board of Aldermen appointed a housing selection committee to facilitate this process. Carla Rose, association director of the Salisbury-Rowan Realtors is chair, joined by Spencer Aldermen Bob Bish and Sam Morgan, and community members Ed Hull and Annie Bates.

For more information, call the Town of Spencer at 704-633-2231.

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