Albemarle County Vying for Million Dollar Housing Grant

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Albemarle County is going after a million-dollar grant to make over aging and dilapidated homes in the southern part of the county.

The federal funds would allow crews to repair and rehabilitate dozens of houses in the Alberene community near Esmont.

Nancy Wray always keeps her eye out for a good home improvement deal while she's working at the habitat store.

“I have taken home things here to help my house out for a very good price,” said Nancy Wray, Alberene Homeowner.

She's been piecing together fix-ups since a fire damaged her 113-year-old home and left her without a source of heat.

“I have an old house, I love the old house. But, it's hard to keep all that up and when a house gets to be a certain age, it just needs more work,” said Wray.

Wray found the Albemarle housing improvement program or a-hip.

“I have some leaky roof issues. I have a bad floor in my kitchen which makes me very nervous,” said Wray.

Wray and about 30 of her neighbors in the Alberene section of Albemarle County could get those home improvements from a community development block grant.

"These are the homes we've identified either through surveying or going down and actually interviewing families and taking pictures and meeting them personally to hear what their stories are or what their needs are," said Wray.

 Ravi Respeto with the Albemarle Housing Improvement Plan says the rehab projects range from homes with no heating or cooling to crumbling roofs and foundations. 

“Things that we don't think are an issue in 2016 are an issue for these families every day and they sort of suffer in silence, but it makes their daily living very challenging,” said Respeto.

AHIP estimates the Alberene upgrades would take about two years to complete and cost at least a million dollars.

“We have a lot of issues of very older homes that just haven't had routine maintenance and are in a lot of need and are in a really critical state. So, we're really hoping this funding will go to make a huge difference for a lot of families,” said Respeto.

Wray is thankful for the peace of mind AHIP provides.

“I think it's amazing and wonderful what they do. I'm just so, so grateful,” said Wray.

County supervisors will hold a public hearing on the grant application Wednesday. If approved and the county gets the funding, AHIP says the repairs could begin as early as August.