The city of Jamestown continues to help owners repair homes even during the pandemic.
Crystal Surdyk, Urban Development Director, reported to Jamestown City Council during its working session this week on the work of city officials to improve housing. Surdyk said two Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME) projects are nearing completion. She said a project at 117 Wescott Street had funded more than $ 35,000 from the city for improvement. She added 19 windows replaced, new paneling, doors and vinyl siding, roof replacements, improvements to the deck and railings, ventilation fan in the bathroom, new electrical outlets in the kitchen, and smoke and CO2 detectors.
The other HOME project was at 122 Park Street, with the city funding the owner with $ 49,550. Surdyk said new vinyl home and garage siding was being installed.
The house and garage windows and doors have also been improved. She also said that porch and banister repairs were being done. Lead mining has also been completed on the property. She added that lead mining is normally done on all HOME projects.
“It’s one of the first things you test for and then one of the last things you do.” She said.
The HOME program provides grants to states and communities that use communities, often in partnership with local nonprofit groups or development companies. These communities and organizations then fund activities like building, buying, and renovating affordable housing units for rent or home ownership. HOME is the largest federal block grant given to state and local governments dedicated solely to creating affordable housing.
Surdyk said there are currently 10 active HOME projects and 55 households on the waiting list that goes back several years. Last month, the council approved the 2020 annual plan for using the HOME funds. City officials plan to use $ 256,850 of the HOME funds for condominium renovation, with $ 51,370 going to a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) in the area used to support the agency in its programs. The city’s two agencies (CHDO) are Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corp. and Citizens Opportunity for Development and Equality Inc.
Surdyk also discussed demolitions with 16 ongoing projects. She said some are undergoing asbestos testing and others are in the asbestos removal process. She added that $ 100,000 was allocated under the 2020 Community Development Block Grant for demolitions. The city also works with Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp. together to fund demolition support.
“(The destruction is) ready to be put out to tender for completion” She said. “We have enough queues to keep us busy for a while.”
Surdyk also presented some information on cases of the apartment code. She said as of Jan. 1 there are 28 new and 361 ongoing cases.
“That’s pretty typical for this time of year” She said. “The cases are usually between 400 and 450.”
As of Jan. 1, 39 cases have been closed, Surdyk said. She said there have been 37 new inspections and 142 re-inspections since early 2021.
Surdyk also discussed the creation of a citizens’ council that will support the city on housing issues. She said the bylaws for the committee are still being drawn up and the rollout will likely be next month. She added that there will be seven to nine people on the committee.
“It will be made up of citizens, landlords and tenants. Also involved are people who participate in neighborhood watch groups and a code enforcement officer. We will also be working with the (Jamestown Police Department) to enable their participation. “ She said.
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