Missouri mayor encourages residents to apply for federally subsidized home improvement program

SEYMOUR, Mo. – After Seymour’s first year participating in a federally subsidized home improvement program, the town’s new mayor is soliciting senior citizens to continue applying for 2023 to see if they qualify. 

Elected in April, Seymour Mayor Alicia Hagen told The Heartlander the number of Seymour seniors in need of home repairs is staggering, so she knew the Comprehensive Home Improvement Project (CHIP) could help. 

CHIP provides grants to qualified senior citizens who need home repairs but are unable to afford them. The program is subsidized by the federal government, which normally provides between $15,000 to $40,000 for residents 62 years of age or older.

Hagen began advertising the program once she was in office with hopes of getting plenty of senior citizens in need approved before the June 13, 2022 deadline. The mayor says she has already submitted 30 applications to CHIP, but now has 10 additional applicants who are in need of new roofs, windows, flooring, handicap accessibility and more. 

Residents must meet the below qualifications, though some may vary by area and size of the resident’s town:

  • Residents must own their own home within Seymour city limits.
  • Senior residents must be 62 years or older.
  • Senior residents must earn less than $25,950 per year for an individual and $28,450 for couples.

Grant writer Lea Ann Christopher works with the Federal Home Bank in a 12-state area and has partnered with Hagen to write the grants for Seymour’s residents. 

“When I got connected with her, I told her I had just been elected as mayor and really wanted to do this for the seniors in our community,” Hagen said. “She has been guiding me through this process.”

The Federal Home Bank puts a percentage of its profits and donations into a fund for low-income seniors. The bank then disperses the money after applications are received and properly processed. 

Hagen says the city of Seymour will find out how much funding it will receive from the CHIP program on December 15, 2022. The mayor says she is passionate about the program, and encourages interested senior citizens to call her office to see if they qualify. 

“The deadline has now passed for applicants for this year’s grant, but I hope to do this again,” she said. “This is not the only time I intend to do this. There are going to be more people who need it that aren’t on this year’s grant. We can do it again.”

The Federal Home Bank asks selected towns to use local contractors to keep the money within their community, but ultimately each town is allowed to decide who it hires.  

Once the CHIP grant is approved, the bidding process will begin in January 2023 and construction will begin in February of 2023.

“This is a big deal for our little town. It helps keep people in their homes who may not otherwise be able to stay there,” the mayor said. “It also helps with the aesthetics of the community. It’s a win, win, win all the way around.”

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