County considers offer on home refurbished with federal grant funds

Jul. 19, 2014 @ 10:30 PM

The Vance County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday to consider an offer for a property on Rock Spring Street.

If approved, this will be the second property sold this year as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a federal grant initiative to restore homes and promote homeownership in struggling neighborhoods.

County Manager Jerry Ayscue said the meeting was called for the immediate consideration of the offer.

The first home in the project was located on North College Street and sold in February for about $65,000 — a milestone for the county, which has faced challenges selling and renting the 11 homes refurbished through the program.

Some have been vacant since 2010 when Vance County received the $2 million grant to renovate them.

Franklin Vance-Warren Opportunity originally requested to be property managers for five rental properties. The county gave them ownership of homes after learning it did not have the broker license needed to rent them out.

Last year, the county faced inadequate marketing tactics and legal problems that left the properties vacant and prone to vandalism.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program had a compliance deadline of Jan. 31, regardless. If the deadline was not met, the county would violate the terms of the grant and be held liable for the costs of the houses.

In February, the county revamped their marketing strategies to better target to the low-income population.

“They are in challenged neighborhoods, and it’s certainly low-income to moderate incomes,” Ayscue said.

The program is administered through the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, who works to promote the homes and conducts bids on repairs.

To be eligible for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program properties, individuals or families must have incomes below 50 percent of the area median — currently $34,499, according the U.S. Census Bureau.

The county has an extended mid-September deadline to sell or rent the remaining properties.

Ayscue said commissioners want to do so immediately.

“We are happy to be moving forward,” he said. “They have a offer to purchase the housing and will be voting on that.”

Before the meeting, the board’s planning committee will meet at 11:45 a.m. to discuss other Neighborhood Stabilization Program issues.

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.