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Covington gets downpayment assistance housing grant
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Covington received a nearly $300,000 state grant Thursday to boost revitalization efforts in Walker's Bend by helping buyers with their down payments.

The Covington Redevelopment Authority has purchased several vacant lots in Walker's Bend off Ga. Highway 81 and plans to partner with local builders to construct smaller, energy efficient homes. The $300,000 grant from Community Home Investment Program will go toward downpayment assistance when these homes are sold.

The Community Home Investment Program is designed to increase affordable housing for low-income residents and is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The subdivision was targeted because of a high foreclosure rate.

Up to $14,999 will be available per home and the homeowner will be required to remain in the home for a set number of years based on assistance level, said city grant writer Randy Conner. The city has not been given a date for when it will receive the funds.
Planning Director Randy Vinson said the redevelopment authority will craft a marketing campaign to tell people about the program and how to apply.

"This is a huge victory for our home-buying citizens and the volunteer citizen teams that work tirelessly to improve our housing," Covington Mayor Kim Carter wrote in an e-mail. "This is a true partnership between the City government and private citizens."
Covington was one of 17 cities and non-profit groups to receive a grant.