Gold Beach, OR, Jul 26, 2013 -- Curry County residents looking for assistance to repair or replace their aging, unhealthy manufactured homes can finally look to a new set of options for guidance and financial backing, thanks to a public-private partnership effort unveiled today in Gold Beach.
Initiation of the ReHome Oregon program was announced at a community meeting with government entities, private businesses and nonprofit organizations. At the event, officials cemented their commitment to helping address health and safety issues with substandard and obsolete manufactured homes by signing a declaration of cooperation.
“In Curry County, we appear to have a very high number of homes with structural issues, indoor moisture, mold, faulty wiring, poor insulation and other issues possibly causing chronic health problems, injuries, fire hazards, and high health care and energy costs,” said County Commissioner David Itzen. “This may cause long-term health and economic issues for families and the community as a whole. The Board of Commissioners of Curry County supports this project completely and is excited about our role in it. We think this project may serve as a model for adjacent counties and possibly other areas of the state.”
Through ReHome Oregon, more than a dozen local, state, federal and private organizations are pooling funding and expertise to help Curry County homeowners upgrade their substandard manufactured housing while creating jobs, saving energy, and protecting the environment. As the initiative continues to add partners and resources, ReHome Oregon anticipates expanding the program to other parts of the state and adding additional assistance options.
With the announcement, Curry County residents who want to replace their obsolete, owner-occupied manufactured housing with new, energy efficient, durable manufactured or modular homes built to withstand the coastal climate will soon be able to request consultation and financial assistance.
“The partners are all on board, and it will take a few months to assemble all the resources,” said Betty Tamm,CEO of NeighborWorks Umpqua, the entity that will administer the program.
To qualify at this time, the applicant must:
• Own a manufactured or mobile home that has exceeded its useful life span and/or requires substantive repairs to address health and safety issues;
• Be purchasing or own the property upon which the home is located;
• Qualify as moderate or low-income; and
• Be willing to repair, rehab or replace their existing home.
Residents may inquire online at http://www.rehomeoregon.org or by calling 541-247-9638 or 541-673-4909. A local housing specialist will guide homeowners through the steps of obtaining a home assessment, evaluating program options, and applying for financial assistance.
Those who qualify may receive financial assistance and small grants to have their manufactured homes decommissioned, recycled and replaced with high-quality manufactured homes constructed with durable materials, energy efficient features, ductless heating systems, whole house ventilation, and weatherization to withstand local conditions. In addition, the homes will include features to help residents age in place, such as grab bars, wide doorways and halls, ramps and other considerations.
In Curry County at this time, there are 3,876 manufactured homes, of which an estimated 30 percent likely have serious health, safety and livability issues. Many of these homes were built before 1980 and prior to current construction standards for manufactured housing. Still in use after exceeding useful life for such structures, many units now present serious issues such as failing roofs, floors and siding, as well as a lack of proper insulation, heating systems, and moisture control. Curry County’s harsh, wet coastal climate compounds problems by speeding wear and tear and adding mold and rot to the equation.
Low-income and senior homeowners often cannot afford to move, make substantive repairs, or replace their homes. In addition, the substandard homes do not hold the equity needed to help the owners secure traditional loans to address the problem. Over time, these residents pay a hefty price through the rapid depreciation of their initial investment, expensive short-term fixes, high energy costs, and escalating health care issues and costs.
Unhealthy living conditions create serious financial and health implications for families. The overall community, in turn, faces increased need for health care services as well as long-term care for those who cannot age in place. By providing affordable options for residents to upgrade their housing, ReHome Oregon aims to reduce related illnesses, improve productivity, allow seniors to age in place, and help homeowners save money on energy and health care.
In addition, local work will be created through the decommissioning and recycling of substandard manufactured or homes and the construction and placement of new homes. Curry County has a 10.8 percent unemployment rate, as compared to a national average of 7.6 percent, as of May 2013.
As homes are decommissioned, project partners are taking steps to keep as much material out of landfills as possible. The target is to recycle 30 percent or more of the materials.
The multi-lateral partnership effort began as the Curry County Housing Stock Upgrade Initiative, a Regional Solutions Team project and was designated an Oregon Solutions project by Governor Kitzhaber in February of 2013. Local conveners are Curry County Commissioner David Itzen and Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative Marketing/Member Services Manager Christine Stallard.
Project partners and funders include Curry County, Oregon Solutions, NeighborWorks Umpqua, USDA Rural Development, Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Oregon Coast Community Action, Curry Home Builders Association, Leisure Land Homes, Business Oregon, Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Manufactured Housing Association, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Bonneville Power Administration, Northwest Energy Works, and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.
Commissioner Itzen released a statement regognizing the partnership collaboration on Friday:
“Almost two years ago when Karen Chase, Regional Advisor for Oregon Housing and Community Services, came to see me with the kernel of an idea to address the apparent need for improved housing in Curry County, she and I agreed that this was worth time and effort to make it a reality. Now, with Governor Kitzhaber’s designation of the Curry County Housing Stock Upgrade Initiative (HSUI) as an Oregon Solutions Project that original idea has grown to a tremendous collaborative team of public, private, and civic partners that has successfully addressed the very complicated set of challenges associated with this venture. On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and citizens of Curry County, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the team at large, Oregon Solutions, and Governor Kitzhaber for their help in making this idea a reality. As this project moves forward over the next 18 months, I believe it will become a model for regional application in adjacent counties and perhaps the entire state.”
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