Apache Junction can help rehab your home with “forgivable” loans
By Bill Van Nimwegen
It is uncommon for funds available to Apache Junction homeowners to languish in city coffers – especially when local residents are repeatedly reminded that the money is there to help get their homes in shape.
The city has received federal funds to continue the owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program. The program provides deferred payment loans – up to $55,000 – for heating, air conditioning, plumbing, roofs, ADA accessibility, code violations and health and safety issues.
Heather Patel, Apache Junction coordinator of the Housing Rehabilitation Program, says the money is there, but the applicants are not. According to Ms. Patel, the funds are paid out in “forgivable” loans, meaning that, as long as the owner stays in the home, they pay no interest or principal.
To participate in the program, an applicant must be a full time resident of Apache Junction with a home located within city limits and have owned the home and property for a minimum of 1 year. The owner must carry homeowner’s insurance.
Also, to participate, the applicant or someone in the home must be elderly (62 or older), disabled or under the age of 18.
The applicant’s income is qualified at or below 80% of the area median income.
Manufactured homes qualify if they were built after June 1976.
Terry and Toni Nored recently participated in the program to rehab their manufactured home on W. Virginia St. in Apache Junction. They learned about the program from staff at St. George’s Food Bank.
Terry, who once rode bulls in local rodeos, is now disabled, over 62 and was having trouble making needed home repairs. Since they had bought and moved into their home in 2013 and are full-time residents of Apache Junction, they were approved for approximately $22,000 in rehab funds.
Toni said it took two to three months after they applied to learn if they qualified. “The city did an assessment of the property and found that our home’s energy efficiency and structural safety needed to be addressed,” she said.
After three bids were reviewed and a contractor was picked, work began on the Nored home’s crawl space, reinforcing floors, repairing duct work and footings. “They took out the tub in the bathroom and put in a shower,” Terry said. “I couldn’t get in and out of the tub anymore, so this was a good change.” The shower was also ADA compliant. Toni said that the change also made room for shelving in the bathroom.
Also added was a new heating and cooling system, as well as repairs to exterior doors and windows. The Noreds’ home was also fitted with a new cook stove, vent hood and energy efficient water heater.
“There was water damage in the laundry room, so they replaced the vinyl flooring,” Toni said. “We used to worry that we would fall through.”
The Noreds stayed in the home while work was done. “The trades were very good about working with our schedules,” Toni said. “If we remain in the home for about 10 years, the program will pay the loans off.”
If this program looks like it could benefit you or your family, the city of Apache Junction is anxious to help.
Applications in both English and Spanish are available online at www.ajcity.net/rehab; for pick-up at the Development Services Department, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.; or by mail. Call 480-474-2635 to request a copy.
Although the Noreds were happy to speak with The News about their experience, privacy is a priority, and recipients of the program and information collected in the application process are held in strict confidentiality.
Information about the program, including a chart to determine if you may be eligible, can be found at www.ajcity.net/rehab.
Funds are distributed on a first come, first served basis. For more information, please contact Heather Patel at 480-474-2635, or visit http://www.ajcity.net/936/Housing-Rehabilitation. #WeAreAJ
Photo above: Terry and Toni Nored recently participated in the program to rehab their manufactured home.