Cambria County commissioners approve home-repair grant application

Jan. 12—EBENSBURG, Pa. — Residents in Cambria County may soon have access to funds for home repairs.

The Cambria County commissioners Thursday approved the proposal of the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority along with the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority and Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI) to administer the Whole-Home Repairs Program Grant.

Renee Daly, executive director of the county's redevelopment authority, said that the application approved Thursday needs to be submitted after a resolution by the county appointed the Cambria authority as the applicant.

"We will partner with the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority to oversee a countywide program that would provide housing that would fit under the whole-home repairs, contract and recommendations and requirement," Daly said, "and then JARI would be our job-training partner, because there is a job-training requirement with the grant application that is to be provided, too.

"Our No. 1 goal would be for lead-based paint abatement. JARI is going to work with an entity on providing that training, and (it would be) paid for through this grant."

Daly said the grant is for $1,760,735, and the authority expects to hear back from the state Department of Community and Economic Development concerning whether funds will be awarded in the spring.

The funds, if obtained, would be split among municipalities, and eligible properties would be owner-occupied structures in low-income situations.

Commissioner William "B.J." Smith asked if people who obtained funds for a similar program through the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority would be eligible for the countywide program. Daly said she believed so, as it is a different contract, but is verifying that information.

"It's all (American Rescue Plan) funding, but it's a different contract and some of the circumstances, even if we receive our funding, we can't redo the same project," she said.

President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky said he believes there are multiple benefits to the program.

"This is a win for all of Cambria County," he said, "and this program will help homeowners repair the exteriors of their homes and provide workforce development to fill job openings."