Minneapolis gets $750,000 for North Side tornado repairs

  • Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 28, 2011 - 9:26 PM

The state Housing Board has given the money to be dispensed in interest-free loans of up to $30,000 repayable when the house sells.

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Keith Rott of Rottworks put in insulation on the front porch of a home on the corner of Lowry and Knox Avenues in north Minneapolis last week.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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The Minnesota Housing Board has approved a $750,000 grant to the city of Minneapolis to repair tornado damaged homes on the North Side, a month before the board was scheduled to take the action.

"We decided to fast track it so people could have an opportunity to make improvements before winter," said Megan Ryan, a Minnesota Housing Finance Agency spokeswoman.

The city will be able to use the money to award 30-year interest-free loans of up to $30,000, payable upon the future sale of the home. The money will be available for households earning less than 115 percent of area median income.

Cherie Shoquist, foreclosure project coordinator for the city, called the award "great news" and said the money will be targeted to 232 homes that still had tarps on the roofs last month to cover up tornado damage. Leaders of neighborhood groups, working with the city, have been knocking on doors this month to determine which ones still need aid to get repairs done.

In another development, the city and state housing financing agency said they had worked out an arrangement for homeowners with tornado damage to access loans from a separate $1 million Quick Start fund awarded to the city by the state. Only five North Side homes have received Quick Start money, totaling $150,000.

Only homeowners who were rejected by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) are eligible for Quick Start loans. The city did not know which applicants were rejected, and the state could not tell them because of SBA rules. Under an agreement announced Friday, the state housing agency will give the addresses of the rejected applicants to three local organizations that administer the Quick Start loans with an understanding they will keep the addresses private, said Mary Tingerthal, state housing commissioner.

The city will give its list of damaged homes to the three groups, which will compare the two lists to identify homeowners who may want to apply for the Quick Start loans. The interest-free loans are up to $30,000 and forgivable if the owner stays in the house for 10 years.

Randy Furst • 612-673-4224

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