Brooklyn Ohio’s Exterior Home Repair Grant Program Gives the City’s Housing Market a Boost
Brooklyn, Ohio’s Exterior Property Maintenance Grant program is helping to turn the town’s housing market around. Data from the Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® shows average sale prices are up 32.2 percent from last year. Mayor Katie Gallagher believes the strong market the city is seeing, despite COVID-19’s initial interference in home sales, correlates directly to the city’s 2019 Exterior Property Maintenance Grant program.
The City of Brooklyn partnered with the Cuyahoga County Department of Development last year. Together, they launched the Exterior Property Maintenance Grant Program. The project is funded by a $50,000 Cuyahoga County Council grant and a matching $50,000 contribution from the city.
Through this program, eligible applicants were able to apply for a grant of up to $3,000 to make exterior repairs to their homes. Applicable projects include repairing driveways, steps, windows, siding, and landscaping.
Mayor Gallagher noted in a Cleveland.com article, “Like everywhere, you see your neighbor cleaning up their yard and it motivates you to clean up your yard a bit more.” She continued, “It’s not like keeping up with the Joneses, but more kind of keeping that quality ownership and good feel in your neighborhood and making sure that we’re all doing our part to make the whole street look good.”
As a result, homes in Cuyahoga County are spending 44 days on the market which is an 8 percent decrease from 2019. In Brooklyn specifically, homes are spending an average of just five days on the market.
In 2019, 146 applications were received for the Exterior Maintenance Grant program. That translated into 38 approved homeowners who fell at or below the 200 percent federal poverty level. These applicants received a total of $150,000 in funds.
This year, the city has already received 96 applications and 36 homeowners have used an estimated $300,000 in project investments. Dawn Neal, Building Department secretary, said in the article Brooklyn Schedules Home-Grant Information Sessions, “We want people’s home values to continually grow. They’ve grown very well back from the recession, but we think it can be even better.”
Applications were accepted through June 1st. To qualify, applicants were required to be a homeowner in Brooklyn and be up to date on their property taxes. A letter issued by the City of Brooklyn states, “Applications will be ranked considering the following items: the need for repair, financial need, the size and type of project, and the private money leveraged to complete the project.” It is hoped that through the continuation of this program the city will continue to experience housing market growth.
Cities throughout Ohio use U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) funds to offer grants or loans to homeowners for critical home maintenance projects. These funds are distributed through local communities. Some programs, similar to Brooklyn’s grant program, that are still accepting applications are:
- Hamilton Improvement Program (HIP): The HIP provides Hamilton County homeowners access to low-interest rate loans to repair or remodel their homes.
- Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland’s Home Repair Loan Program: The NHS of Greater Cleveland’s Home Repair Loan Program offers homeowners an affordable mortgage to help with energy efficient repairs.
- United States Department of Agriculture Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants: The USDA’s Section 504 Home Repair Program offers loans to very-low-income homeowners to make repairs to their homes.
Investing in the maintenance of your home is a smart way to maintain and increase your home’s value. If you’re a homeowner in Ohio looking to make exterior improvements to your home, you can check with the Ohio Development Services Agency for resources available near you.