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Carondelet group receives $1.8 million for home repair

CARONDELET – A neighborhood group is preparing to spend $1.8 million on making home improvements for low- to-moderate-income senior citizens and disabled residents living in two southeastern St. Louis ZIP Codes.

The Carondelet Community Betterment Federation recently received the funding for those in the 63111 and 63116 ZIP Codes from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. 

Last year, the CCBF received $736,000 for 40 homes in the 63111 ZIP Code. It’s already done 29. This year, it’s getting $920,000 in each ZIP Code. That’s enough for 50 homes in each code, CCBF Executive Director Fred Hessel said. 

Those areas include all or part of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 25th Wards, Hessel said. Aldermen should be contacting their constituents about this soon.

Later, the CCBF may apply to expand to other places, Hessel said.

To be eligible, those in the program should have 80 percent or less of area median income based on family size. General income maximums for eligibility range from $42,500 for a two-person household to $61,600 for a six-person household. People who are not senior citizens or disabled who meet the income guidelines also may be considered, Hessel said.

The CCBF now is taking applications for this year’s program. For more information, call the CCBF office at 314-752-6339.

The work includes much-needed repairs to roofs, furnaces, air conditioning, electrical systems, windows, doors and other situations. This allows senior citizens to age in place, Hessel said.

From his experience last year, Hessel said, there is definitely a need in the area.

“We have people who get Social Security and a very modest pension,” Hessel said.

The majority of requests in the past year were for roofing, said Kelly Wamhoff, CCBF’s grant manager. The poor condition of some homes is not because of neglect, but because of an inability to keep up, she said. 

“I’ve seen open sewage in the basement from totally blown sewer stacks,” Hessel said.

If there is a variety of problems, including a bad roof, he’d do the roof first.

One person who had work done last year was Kathleen Devine, who lives in the 500 block of Bellerive Boulevard.

Workers replaced 26 windows in her house, did tuckpointing and insulation on the back of her home. They also put in concrete stairs in the front of the house. Before, there was nothing under the stairs to hold them up. All of those improvements were greatly needed, Devine said. 

Projects cost between about $15,000 and $17,000. They range from major systems upgrades to deferred maintenance issues. 

Hessel said he needed contractors able to provide quality work.

“To ensure work is completed in a professional manner, work will be performed by licensed contractors, proper permits will be pulled, and a final inspection will be performed by city inspectors and CCBF staff.”

“I’m not going to put up with shoddy workmanship,”  Hessel emphasized.

At the same time, Wamhoff said, “There’s not enough money to do all the work.”

Jim Merkel

southsidemerkel@gmail.com Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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  1. We work hard ,things are falling apart .The house needs a lot of work done on it inside and out mostly inside No matter how hard we try we don’t get any where.please help.

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