The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

September 25, 2013

HOME Grant application deadline Friday

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Has your home seen better days? There’s an app(lication) for that — but the deadline to get it in is approaching fast.

The city of Palestine is currently accepting applications for its HOME grant program. Qualified Palestine residents can apply to participate in the program, which helps low-income homeowners refurbish or even rebuild their homes. Palestine resident Annie Lacey applied and received grant monies to have her home completely rebuilt during the last round of HOME grant projects.

“She loves her new house and she’s enjoying it very much. She said she has no complaints — I told her even if she did, not to worry about them since it’s so much better than what she had,” Lacey’s daughter, Ruby Slaughter, said with a laugh. “And it helps me sleep better knowing she’s safe and comfortable.”

Slaughter, who lives in Cuney in Cherokee County, said she helped her mother with much of the paperwork the project entailed. Lacey lived with her daughter for 18 months while her new home on Howard Street in Palestine was being built.

“The whole process was fairly easy,” Slaughter said. “Mr. (Ken) Hamner was very good to us, worked with us on our schedules and made it go very smoothly. There’s a lot of paperwork involved, but it was very worth it. This program is a wonderful thing.”

Applications are available at Palestine City Hall, 504 N. Queen St., in Palestine. Applications must be turned in at City Hall by 5 p.m. Friday. Call Nan Brock at 903-731-8415 for applications.

According to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ website, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME Program) is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and works to help provide decent, safe, affordable housing to low income citizens. Palestine city council members awarded the grant’s administration to Gary Traylor & Associates of Tyler in July and announced the city could potentially build up to 11 new homes this year.

“We’ve worked with the City of Palestine on this before and have been able to build at least 15 houses for Palestine residents who qualified,” Ken Hamner, a project manager with Traylor and Associates, said in an earlier interview.

Officials with the TDHCA said the city has been participating in the department’s various housing programs since 1993, including the Homebuyers Assistance Program. Last year, the city received $336,000 to help rebuild four homes within the city limits.

This year’s grant qualifications are based on home ownership, residence, income level, location and degree of dilapidation.

“Homeowners will be asked to provide proof of ownership and that they live in the home, their income level and that the home is located within the city limits of Palestine,” Hamner said. “We also look at what shape the home is in. If we’re looking at two potential projects — one where the roof is good and the foundation is still level and another where maybe you could see daylight through the walls, we’re going to choose the latter because the need is greater.”

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Cristin Reece may be reached via e-mail at