Home revitalization funds available to in-need residents

GOWANDA — Jason M. Heatley came to a Gowanda Village Board meeting with a unique request: please apply for free money, homeowners.

Heatley is the executive director of Southtowns Rural Preservation Company, who works in Erie County. He wanted to share the news to the Gowanda area that there is money out there for low-income residents to improve their home. He went to the board meeting as the funds for his program often go towards other areas.

“All you need to do to apply is contact us to start,” Heatley said. “So, they contact us, we ask a few questions up front just to get a cursory glance at what their financial situation is. If it seems like they’re going to meet, or be under the income qualifications, then we send them an application.”

From there it goes to applying and presenting information to the group like: copy of deed, tax forms, pay stubs, homeowner’s insurance and bank statements.

And though Heatley is an Erie County-centric speaker, he assisted in saying that there are others in the Southern Tier. For southern Erie County and Cattaraugus County, Rural Revitalization Corporation can help you (373-4100); in Chautauqua County, Chautauqua Opportunities (366-3333) and Chautauqua Home Repair & Improvement Corporation (363-4650) are available for similar work.

The Southtowns Rural Preservation Company repaired 29 homes last year and looks to match that number this year.

“The cost ranging from $3,500 to $15,000,” Heatley said of last year. “In areas where (the) houses require more than we can grant, we’ve collaborated with Erie County. USDA Rural Development, actually has housing options, which is something that many people don’t know.”

To contact SouthtownsRural Preservation Company, call 941-5787 or email southtownsrpc@aol.com. Their website is southtownsrpc.com.