The housing rehabilitation needs of vulnerable citizens throughout the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District's eight-county region were on the agenda at the Washington County commissioners meeting Thursday.
The district is preparing an application for the maximum allowable grant from the 2012 Ohio Housing Trust Fund for the Housing Grant Assistance program for 2013 and 2014.
Commissioners agreed to send a letter of support for funding for the program.
"We haven't determined the (grant) amount yet. ...It will be at least $500,000," said Joe Gage, the district's housing coordinator.
If approved, the grant will provide housing rehabilitation to low-income disabled and elderly residents in the district.
Program services will include age-related and handicap accessibility renovations and minor home repairs that will be provided to those most in need.
"Most of (the jobs) we do are handicap accessible," said Gage.
Funds for similar services are currently available through the district, Gage said. However, certain limits would be expanded with the possible new grant.
Under the new grant, a person would have to be 50 years and older and have an income that was 50 percent of the area median income, he added.
"This grant is very good for keeping people from transferring into nursing homes...when they can't take care of their daily living," Gage said.
According to Gage, the average cost of in-home care in the state of Ohio is $12,600 per year. The average annual cost of nursing home care in Ohio is $56,492.
The district will submit the Ohio Housing Trust proposal by Nov. 28, and will likely know if the grant is funded in January, Gage said. The grant would start in April, he added.
To inquire about existing grant monies or those that would become available with the grant proposal, contact the district at (800) 331-2644 and ask for the screening department.
In other business:
Washington County Family and Children First Council, through an agreement signed Thursday with the commissioners, will utilize the independent contractor services of Susan Barengo to provide sign language interpreter services for hearing impaired adults and children in the council's Help Me Grow (HMG) program.
"We're required to conduct our services in the native language of the parent, or in the other mode of communication used by that family. The native language for the hearing impaired is sign language," said Cindy Davis, council administrator and Help Me Grow project director.
"It's really important for parents to understand our program, policies and services and what they're consenting to when being in Help Me Grow," she added.
The program is for Ohio's expectant parents, newborns, infants and toddlers and provides health and developmental services so children start school healthy and ready to learn.
Barengo's sign language interpreter services will be provided upon request of a HMG home visitor or service coordinator, and will be primarily delivered in the family's home during a joint visit with a HMG staff member.
The agreement between Barengo and the council will be effective through June 30, 2013. Barengo will compensated at a rate of $25 per hour.
Washington County commissioners approved the addition of Scott Oran, new site manager at Kraton in Belpre, to the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority's board of directors. Oran will serve as a board member through Jan. 31, 2014. He fills the vacancy left by former Kraton site manager Mark Gaddy.