Grant money for down payment or closing on a new house is available to those that qualify for the $25,000.

The dream of building a new home can be difficult for people with moderate income. But those dreams can come true thanks to Stafford County Economic Development and a Moderate Income Housing grant.

The grant, from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, makes $25,000 for down payment/closing costs towards the construction of a new home within city limits of Hudson, Macksville, Radium, Stafford or St. John, said Ashlee Bevan, program director of Stafford County Economic Development.

Carolyn Dunn, economic development executive director, wrote the $100,000 grant that was received in December 2016. The money has been split four ways so the grant is available to four different potential home owners. So far, two families have taken advantage of the grant so there are still two more $25,000 payments waiting for the right applicant.

"We still have two slots available," Bevan said.

It can be difficult to get a loan in rural communities because there's not a lot of construction of comparable housing. Getting this grant money helps out tremendously with the bank.

"Getting financing for new housing construction in rural towns is ofter a challenge for a number of reasons," Dunn said. "With this program in place, we can jump-start new construction and make it easier for families to own a home they can be proud of."

There has been a lot of interest in using the grant but unfortunately, many of those interested wanting to build out in the county but the grant money is designed for construction inside a city limits.

Anyone interested in the grant money should contact economic development at 620-549-3527 and visit with Dunn who has to verify eligibility for the money. Once the income level of the homeowner has been established, Economic Development has little to do with the project. The homeowner works with

Housing Opportunities to develop the house plan.

To be eligible, the future home builder must meet the moderate income requirements. The house must be constructed within the city limits of a town in Stafford County. The buyer must live in the home for 10 years or pay back the $25,000 on a pro-rated basis. Economic Development acts as temporary owner of the project but the homeowner makes all the decisions on the finishing touches. When the construction is completed, the homeowner gets the $25,000.

Economic Development is working with Housing Opportunities Inc. of Great Bend to develop the housing plans.

Three house plans are available ranging from 1,089 to 1,250 square feet and cost approximately $170,000. Each plan has three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the main level with an unfinished basement featuring roughed-in plumbing and two egress windows that would allow two more bedrooms to be finished-in. The buyer has the choice in colors and finishes both inside and out. There is some flexibility to add more to the homeowners taste but it will cost them more.

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