Tyrone funds home rehab program again

TYRONE — Borough Council on Monday allocated Tyrone’s entire fiscal 2019 Community Development Block Grant allocation to its single-family-housing rehabilitation program.

Council hesitated to make the allocation at first, after Councilman Bob Dollar pointed out that the program has struggled to obtain willing contractors, until Trina Illig, CDBG coordinator for Blair County, said the county has been building up the pre-qualified contractor list.

The number of pre-qualified contractors recently slid to two, but recent advertisements in local newspapers, on the Blair County Chamber of Commerce website and with the Blair County Builders Exchange, along with flyers and a mass mailing has helped build up the list to about five, Illig said.

Minimum requirements for contractors include a Pennsylvania contractor’s license, insurance and a Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule certification from the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure they’ll handle lead-based paint safely, Illig said.

The number of contractors on the list went down in recent years mainly because the county hasn’t advertised for a while, Illig said.

It’s important to have enough contractors on the list because the program requires that homeowners who receive funding obtain three bids, she said.

Contractors would be “crazy” to shy away from the program, given that they are guaranteed to be paid with the federal funding upon which the program operates, Illig said.

The regulations of the program are not a hassle for contractors, she said.

There are 18 pre-qualified homeowner applicants in the borough, said Borough Manager Ardean Latchford.

The program has helped 87 low- to moderate-income homeowners in the past, Latchford said.