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Seniors can get help with home repairs from Armstrong program

| Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, 2:27 p.m.

Some senior citizens may be able to get assistance from Armstrong County with high-cost heating and roof repairs.

The county and the Armstrong County Area Agency on Aging began the county's Senior Home Repair Pilot Program on Dec. 20, offering seniors 60 and older grants up to $6,000 and technical assistance for furnace and roof repairs.

Carmen Johnson, assistant director of the Department of Planning and Development, said the program's budget is $100,000, which was funded by a $80,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Lottery, and $20,000 from the county's Housing Trust Fund.

“We don't know if there will be sufficient funds for another round of this program,” Johnson said.

The program provides assistance based upon section 8 and moderate income levels, according to Adrienne J. Commodore, the housing division director of the county's Department of Planning and Development.

Under the guidelines, a one-person household must have an income of $31,200 or below, and a two-person household income cannot exceed $35,650, Commodore said. A three-person household's income cannot exceed $40,100.

“The average senior citizen households are usually no larger than two or three people,” she said.

The planning and development department frequently fields calls from seniors seeking financial assistance to install roofs and furnaces, Commodore said.

The department has about 20 senior citizens on a waiting list for financial assistance, she said.

“I can't say for sure how many people in the county are eligible for the program, since we have to verify each household's income before issuing assistance,” Commodore said.

County Commissioner Rich Fink said the program is a chance for the county to help assist seniors struggling throughout Armstrong with their housing needs.

“It brings dollars here from the lottery, and it's a benefit to all of our senior citizens,” Fink said. “We hope those who are really in need will apply, because these dollars are available.”

Anyone interested in applying for the program should call the Armstrong County Department of Planning and Development at 724-548-3223 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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