The City of Allentown will offer a self-forgiving loan program to qualified homeowners who are required to install/replace curbs/sidewalk on their property in conjunction with the city's 2014 Street Reconstruction and Pedestrian Safety Program.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski, City Council Vice President Ray O’Connell, Councilwoman Cynthia Mota and Councilman Daryl Hendricks announced details of the program this morning at a news conference in City Council Chambers.
City policy requires completion and replacement of deficient curbs/sidewalks on streets for various reasons, including street overlaying projects and street reconstruction. It is the responsibility of the property owner to comply when notified to replace/install curbs/sidewalk as part of this project.
After receiving a letter about the requirements this spring, affected property owners approached the city to see if something could be done to alleviate this unfunded mandate.
“The city did some research into best practices and potential funding sources from eligible federal programs and is happy to report that based on those findings the city can now offer a self-forgiving loan program to those most in need,” Pawlowski said.
Eligibility is based on guidelines established for HUD-funded programs.
1. Funds are available only for owner-occupied properties.
2. Funds are available only for property owners who have no City of Allentown tax delinquencies and are current on water and garbage fees.
3. Funds are available only to households that have incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development on an annual basis.
4. Funds will be provided on a self-forgiving loan basis. If the homeowner remains in the property as its owner-occupant, the loan will be forgiven after five years. If the property becomes a rental property or if the owner sells within the five years, the entire amount of the loan must be repaid.
5. A mortgage for the entire amount of the loan will be filed and will be satisfied after five years if the property owner continues to reside in the property and it remains owner-occupied.
Letters will be sent to affected property owners advising them that they must use the City of Allentown Contractor in order to be eligible for the loan. Property owners will not be eligible for the loan if a private contractor is used. Eligibility is limited to those properties that were notified and that are part of the city’s annual Street Reconstruction and Pedestrian Safety Program starting with the 2014 program. Property owners in areas of the city where the mandatory construction of new curbs and/or sidewalks has already been completed for the 2014 Street Reconstruction and Pedestrian Safety Program are still eligible to apply for the self-forgiving loan program. The same eligibility criteria will apply.
Applications for a “Self-Forgiving Loan for Construction of Curb and Sidewalks” from the city and an “Income Verification Form” will be mailed to the owners of properties included in the city's 2014 Street Reconstruction and Pedestrian Safety Program.