Borough Receives HOME Program Grant

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has awarded a $250,000 HOME grant to the Borough of Chambersburg. This will enable the re-start of the Borough Housing Rehabilitation Program; a partnership with the Borough and Luminest, Inc. A minimum of five homeowners will be served by the HOME grant funding. Depending on the cost per home, the hope is to serve more.

The program and resolution

August 2021, Town Council approved the Resolution authorizing the HOME grant application submission to DCED. Earlier that month during the Land Use and Community Development Department budget presentation, staff proposed a partnership with Luminest to re-start the Housing Rehabilitation Program by applying for a HOME grant as administered by DCED. The Borough operated an owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program from 1992 through 2015 that rehabilitated more than 150 houses. The program was funded by CDBG and HOME.

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As discussed with Town Council on 8/23/2021, Luminest will market and operate the program to provide rehabilitation for low and moderate-income homeowners anywhere in the Borough. Assistance would be in the form of a 10-year forgivable loan to each eligible homeowner.

Community development

Luminest has a strong history of providing affordable housing opportunities in Franklin County and the Borough. They are one of seven non-profit Community Housing Development Organizations in Pennsylvania certified by DCED, organized specifically to provide affordable housing services. They have planned and developed the expertise and staff capacity to add housing rehabilitation to their menu of services, in this case, to rehabilitate owner-occupied houses in the Borough where 74% of the housing stock was built before 1969.

Luminest will use 6% of the grant ($15,000) for administration purposes. Staff will work with Luminest and Urban Design Ventures, the Borough’s community development consultant, to complete the environmental review process, as noted in the letter from DCED. Once that process is complete, a HOME grant contract will be provided from DCED, which will be presented to Council for approval consideration. Also, before the program re-starts, a Sub-Recipient Agreement between the Borough and Luminest will be presented to Council for approval consideration.

The goal will be to complete all of the HOME grant compliance and contract requirements as quickly as possible so Luminest can start providing housing rehabilitation services sometime in 2022.