DeKalb offers loans for outdoor property repair

By Sylvia Phillips

Homeowners can revitalize their outdoor property this spring through neighborhood improvement loans offered by the city of DeKalb.

Under the Neighborhood Rehabilitation Grant/Loan Program, DeKalb residents can apply for home improvement grants and no-interest loans. Applications are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. between March 6 and April 7 and on Saturdays from March 11 to April 1 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Municipal Building, 400 S. Fourth St.

Homeowners can apply for improvement grants of $1,000 and no-interest loans of $4,000 for a total of $5,000 in rehabilitation funds.

Landlords can receive no-interest loans of $4,000 for a one-family house and $2,500 for multiple-family rental units. The limit for grant/loan assistance for landlords is $10,000.

The program offers residents funds to repair roofs, outside water and sewer lines, sidewalks and electrical wiring, said Bill Nicklas, director of DeKalb’s Department of Building and Community Services. Its purpose is “to rehabilitate structures that have deteriorated and that have not seen any investment of private rehabilitation money,” he said.

Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with priority given to projects that will improve structures that violate existing city codes, Nicklas said. Code violations create health and safety hazards, such as exposed electrical wiring that creates a shock hazard.

The DeKalb City Council designated $150,000 of the city’s Recaptured Loan funding for the program. Of this amount, $50,000 has been appropriated for each year from 1989 to 1991.

A catalyst for the project came from the efforts of 3rd Ward residents to upgrade their neighborhood.