NECAC applies for new grants, urges eligible applicants to apply for Self-Help Housing Program

HANNIBAL (WGEM) – The Northeast Community Action Corp. gathered Thursday afternoon in front of Dominque Washington’s home to showcase the Self-Help Housing program for veterans and others eligible low-income residents during a time when home supplies costs are on the rise.

The program supplies participants who meet income guidelines with the appropriate materials needed for their homes. They also get to work one-on-one with NECAC Construction Supervisor Howard Sommer, who will teach them home improvement skills.

“It’s to celebrate National Homeownership Month,” said NECAC Housing Development Deputy Director Carla Potts. “And you, know, sometimes we celebrate new homeowners, we need to celebrate people who already own their homes and need to fix them up.”

Potts said there are 48 participants in the Self-Help Housing program. She said they hope to have 56 by the end of October.

After the showcase wrapped up, Sommer headed over to participant and veteran Robert Sergent’s home to help him tear apart his ageing 40-year-old deck and to replace it with new material.

Sergant said he’s glad he found out about the Self-Help Housing Program.

“They provided the material,” Sergent said. “Otherwise I would have to get a loan on the life insurance, get a second mortgage on the house or something.”

Sergant said he first built his house in the 1970s. He said once you build a house, it’s always a work in progress.

“It needs to be done,” Sergent said. “As you can see, the boards on the deck they were not treated.”

Sommer said Sergent has a lot of home building skills under his belt. He said other participants need more direction.

“Some people don’t really have that knowledge at all,” Sommer said. “So then we kind of have to start from scratch.”

Potts said through the roughly $300,000 in USDA grants that they applied for, they hope that they can keep up with the rising cost of supply such as lumber.

“Wood has started going down,” Potts said. “Lumber has started going down, so we think, so I think we hope that it would go down.”

Potts said the program strives to overcome any hurdles to help those in need of assistance.

“We’ve certainly looked at higher costs (and) supply-chain issues,” Potts said.

Potts said NECAC is getting ready to apply for another grant to continue serving eligible applicants for two more years.

She says the goal is to get 48 more homeowners homes fixed.

If you think you are eligible for assistance, Potts said she encourages homeowners to call at 573-324-6622.

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