Taking a hit: Marietta’s HUD funds cut by $16K
by Nikki Wiley
April 12, 2014 04:00 AM | 2400 views | 2 2 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kathy Carothers stands in front of her Marietta home before leaving for her job on Monday. New steps leading to the front door are visible, above, as well as two of the nine new windows that were installed as part of the city of Marietta’s housing authority.
Kathy Carothers stands in front of her Marietta home before leaving for her job on Monday. New steps leading to the front door are visible, above, as well as two of the nine new windows that were installed as part of the city of Marietta’s housing authority.
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Carothers stands by her new central air conditioning unit at her Marietta home. She was given a choice of a new front door including a storm door or new HVAC system and she opted for the HVAC.
Carothers stands by her new central air conditioning unit at her Marietta home. She was given a choice of a new front door including a storm door or new HVAC system and she opted for the HVAC.
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MARIETTA — A federally funded program that helps low-income Marietta residents improve and maintain their homes stands to receive less cash this year from Washington, D.C.

The city of Marietta will receive about $16,000 less from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program this year, and most of those cuts will likely impact the city’s housing rehabilitation program.

About $262,984 will go to the city’s rehab program this year, the most of the programs paid for under the city’s $542,284 block grant budget. That’s less than the $274,894 rehab got last year under the $558,394 total budget.

Though $16,000 is a small amount in the grand scheme of government funding, Mitch Bland, director of Marietta’s CDBG program, said his department will still take a hit.

“Every 16,000, that’s another housing rehabilitation job we can’t do,” Bland said.

Bland estimates the housing rehabilitation program has helped “probably 500 or 600 people, maybe 1,000” Marietta residents who are low income and own their own home.

Kathy Carothers said her quality of life drastically improved when the city replaced her townhome’s gutters, heating, ventilation and air condition system, windows and sliding glass door on her back patio.

“I would not have been able to get these improvements done,” Carothers said.

She’s a single mother with a grown daughter and a 16-year-old son. Carothers has owned her townhome off Sandtown Road for 13 years and at one time worked in the mortgage industry.

Her family fell on hard times after Carothers lost her job for the first time in 2001. Since then, she’s been laid off four more times.

“It’s been pure hell,” said Carothers, who has a degree in business management.

She now provides in-home care for seniors but makes about half as much as she did as a loan originator.

After feeling like she had been “slapped in the face” and seeing her opportunities dwindle, Carothers said she was encouraged to learn help existed for homeowners who want to maintain quality homes.

“It’s just nice to know that there are things out there that good, hard-working people can qualify for and benefit from,” she said.

Most clients are “very low income,” Bland said, and many are elderly residents surviving on Social Security.

Applicants must also demonstrate a dire need for home repair.

“This is not a home remodeling program,” Bland said. “It’s a home repair program.”

Cuts from the federal government will also impact other city efforts, Bland said, like slum and blight clearance and mentoring programs sponsored by the department, which he said have a wide reach.

“If you talk about the number of people who have been effected by CDBG you’re probably talking about 30,000 people,” Bland said.

Comments
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Perplexed
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April 13, 2014
I do a great deal to help people in the community. I am perplexed and very much over the government , which amounts to me and other taxpaying citizens, paying for repairs on these homes. I have been waiting to repair my gutters and replace my heat and air unit for three years, because I had to save and pay for a new $7000 roof. Just because you are in a certain income bracket, you get a free roof, gutters, heat and air, and windows? Who helps me? No one. I have to save and do things little by little. I am tired of only 48% of people paying taxes, and most of those people struggle to get pay to get these things done as well. I do feel badly for people who are on hard times, but I am not saddened at all to see these programs cut.
anonymous
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April 13, 2014
Your taxes are voluntary. Those other 52% volunteered for you to pay the taxes by voting in people who would give them your money.

And really, if one can't afford a new AC or a new door then one can't afford to own a residence. That's why rentals exist, for people who can't afford--or don't want--the hassles of ownnership. So many subsidies exist to get people into homes they can't afford in spite of the probability that the buyer will lose the home.

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