Housing rehab grant funds nearly double

ONTARIO — A Rural Development Investment Grant has been renewed for Community in Action, but this time, it is about double what it has been in recent years.

The grants, which are used for housing rehabilitation, have previously been $64,000, said Barb Higinbotham, executive director of Community in Action.

The new grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is $114,677, she said. It can be used to help low-income homeowners in Malheur and Harney counties repair their homes.

Repairs can include improving accessibility to homes of elderly so they can stay in them longer, repairing roofs and siding, updating electrical service and repairing porches and other physical structures. In addition, the funds can be used for energy conservation work to help lower utility bills. This can range from adding insulation from homes to replacing heating systems and to installing storm windows and doors.

The funding was approved through the Senate Appropriations subcommittee of which Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, is the ranking Democrat on the panel.