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Money available for home improvements
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Homeowners who are planning to stick around for a few years could be eligible for federal funding to make their homes more energy efficient or handicap accessible.

Local nonprofit Family Community Housing Association is partnering with the Federal Home Loan Bank Atlanta to provide up to $15,000 per household in forgivable loans.

In order to be eligible, a residence must be owner-occupied and the owner's primary residence; cooperatives, homes, mobile housing and townhouses are eligible. Only a person or family who makes 80 percent or less of the area medium income can apply; for a single person that amount is $38,300 while for a family of four its $54,650. For the full schedule visit and click on "Income Limits Data" on the left sidebar and then select "FY 2011 Income Limits."

Homeowners can use the energy efficiency and weatherization money to reduce their energy costs, by making improvements such as new exterior doors, heating and air systems, insulation, windows and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

The handicap accessibility money can be used to improve the safety and disability accessibility of their homes through exterior ramps and sidewalks, door widening, bathroom and kitchen renovations, floor replacement and other improvements.

Each program gives up to $15,000 in loans, but money is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In order to learn more or apply for the programs contact Julius Webb, executive director of Family Community Housing Association, by phone at (770) 787-4436 or email at

Applicants must fill out additional documentation and take a 45-60 minute online course. Once a resident is approved Family Community Housing Association will hire a contractor to complete the improvements.

The resident will have 20 percent of their loan forgiven each year for five years, Webb said. He hopes the program will help medium to low-income residents and senior citizens save money.