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Friends of the North Country to receive $300,000 grant

KEESEVILLE A nonprofit organization with a mission of helping low-income families has received word it will get a substantial shot in the arm. The New York State Affordable Housing Corporation approved a $300,000 grant to Friends of the North Country Inc. Dec. 3, which will assist in the organizations construction of eight single-family homes in Clinton County. The grant was included in $64.2 million in financing approved by the Affordable Housing Corporation and its parent agency, the New York State Housing Finance Agency, which will create or preserve 426 affordable housing units across the state. Scott Campbell, executive director of Friends of the North Country, said it was gratifying the grant application was approved and that the Affordable Housing Corporation saw value in the organizations plans for the funding. Its always exciting when were successful with a proposal, theres no question, said Campbell. This [funding] will help us with our mission of improving the North Country, one home at a time. The program, Campbell explained, assists those who own their own single-wide mobile home on their own property by replacing the units with new, stick-built homes. The mobile homes must be in a deteriorating state considered not rehabilitatable, said Campbell. The new homes would also require access to an existing septic system and adequate source of water and power, as well as land that meets the standards for constructing a stick-built home. The process involves putting the respective projects out to bid and having the approved contractors build the home while the family remains living in their mobile home, Campbell continued. When construction is complete, the family moves into the new home and Friends of the North Country ensures the home is properly disposed of, he said. The advantage of choosing to build a stick-built home is the laborers and the material they use are typically local, said Campbell. Modular and double-wide homes, though sold locally, are typically constructed out of the area, he added. It keeps the money in the community. The [contractors] buy their materials here, they gas up their trucks at the local convenience store, they buy their lunch locally in the town of village theyre working in, said Campbell. The contractors benefit, the owners benefit and the community benefits. The funding from the NYSAHC will be utilized with a $250,000 grant secured earlier this year from the New York State HOME Program. The cost of the construction is typically covered completely by Friends of the North Country, however, in some instances homeowners may be required to contribute a small percentage toward the overall cost, Campbell said. The program is in high demand throughout the area it serves, which encompasses Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, said Campbell. There is currently a pool of 80-90 applicants for the program, he added, each of whom will go through an evaluation process to assess their need and eligibility for the program. Most recently, Friends of the North Country was involved with the completion of a home in the town of Schuyler Falls. Previous to that, a home was completed six months ago in Keeseville, the village where Friends of the North Countys main offices are located. Those interested in more information about Friends of the North Country may call 834-9606 or visit their office at 1 Mill St., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

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