State awards nearly $2 million in housing grants for low-income county residents; Canton, Russell, Brasher each get $400,000
Friday, August 27, 2010 - 5:16 pm

By CRAIG FREILICH

State authorities have announced nearly $2 million in grants through the federal Community Development Block Grant program for housing in St. Lawrence County, and a local official says the county Planning Office deserves credit for continuing to bring in grant funds.

An award of $750,000 was approved for the county to assist 45 low-and moderate-income families through the St. Lawrence County Direct Homeownership Assistance Program. Grants of up to $30,000 per household will be provided to help with the down payment and closing costs. The county has conducted assessments and has determined that first-time homebuyer assistance is a top priority, the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal said.

Three other awards, of $400,000 each, totaling $1.2 million, will be going toward housing rehabilitation in North Russell, the village of Canton, and to Brasher Falls.

This money goes for building or rehabilitating affordable housing for working families, seniors, and people with disabilities,

The next step in the process, according to St. Lawrence Housing Council Director Joseph DeMart, is for county planners to establish specific recommendations, which are then passed on the Board of Legislators to act upon. That action, DeMart believes, will probably happen by mid-October.

DeMart wants people to know the key role that the county Planning Office plays in securing these grants.

“The entire county should recognize the outstanding job that County Planning has done in a very competitive process,” DeMart said. “The Planning Office continues to deliver.”

Statewide, the grants announced today amount to $32 million.