Your downtown home in need of an upgrade? Contact the city

WESTFIELD–The city’s community development office is still seeking pre-applications for deferred payment loans to help fix homes in the downtown area.

The community development office, in conjunction with Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), are looking for applicants for the Westfield Housing Improvement Program (WHIP), which provides deferred payment loans to qualified residents to use on a number of safety and quality-of-life repairs for their homes. The pre-applications that are being sought are easy to fill out, and are due back to the community development office at City Hall by April 21, at 5 p.m.

Currently, the program is only seeking homes in downtown Westfield and a map of the specific area is available on the city’s website in PDF form.

Peter J. Miller, director of community development for the City of Westfield. (Photo by Amy Porter)

The choice of the downtown area for the loans is in order to have a greater impact, particularly in an area where home ownership is lower.

“We want to focus the funds in one area as best we can,” Peter Miller, director of community development for Westfield, said. “We focus on improving neighborhoods and this maximizes the neighborhood-centric impact.”

Miller said that there will be a total of eight homes chosen for the project, with four being chosen in the spring and four more in the summer. In order to determine who gets chosen and when they receive the loans, the community development office and PVPC will hold a live lottery at City Hall’s room 201 on May 4, at 4 p.m. Those eligible for the lottery will be those who successfully pass the pre-application screening, which requests names, address, income for the home and types of improvements needed for the home.

The loans will provide homeowners with up to $30,000 in deferred payment loans, which are fully forgiven if the person who received the loan remains in the home for 15 years. Otherwise, a sliding scale of payment will determine how much is owed on the loan.

Projects applicable for the loan include “code violations and life safety,” according to Miller. In addition, weatherization, accessibility modifications and quality-of-life improvements also qualify.

If interested in applying, please contact PVPC Housing Coordinator Shirley Stephens at (413) 781-6045 or [email protected] for a pre-application form, emailing Miller at [email protected] or by going to the city of Westfield website and clicking on the “Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program Available to Qualified Westfield Residents” link.

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