In May it was announced that Scioto County and the city of Portsmouth formed a partnership to apply for Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program (CHIP) funding, through the Ohio Development Services Agency. The county was informed on Thursday, based on its application, no funding would be awarded.
Collectively the two communities were applying for $850,000.
Tracy Shearer, Community Development Director for the city of Portsmouth said the application received a zero score.
When asked why the application scored so low, Shearer said, “from what I gather there was some missing documentation. I believe we’re (city of Portsmouth) going to make a public records request on Monday to get a copy of the application.”
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis said the application was not scored because the license for the asbestos removal company was not included in the application.
“We (Scioto County) got a call yesterday (Thursday) evening informing us that we had not been funded,” Davis said. “One sheet of paper, which was a copy of the license for the asbestos removal company was not in the application. That’s what kept the project from being funded.”
Local, projects considered under the CHIP program included, funding for people living in low to moderate income housing to do repairs and rehabilitation projects on current owner occupied homes. Eligible projects could include window and roof replacement, wheelchair accessibility ramps, electrical, structural or mechanical repairs and sewer projects.
According to the Ohio Development Services Agency, The Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) Program provides grants to eligible communities interested in undertaking housing-related activities, including necessary infrastructure improvements. The grants are awarded competitively and encourage a flexible, community-wide approach to improving and providing affordable housing for low-to moderate-income persons and strengthening neighborhoods through community collaboration.
Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen echoed Shearers comment in saying he was disappointed to hear the news. He said the city has yet to officially hear word on the application and said the city was forced to apply with the county, if they wanted to apply.
Allen said the city will continue to work with the county because, that’s what is best for the citizens of Portsmouth and Scioto County.
Shearer said she’s received multiple applications from people seeking assistance through the CHIP program.
“I have several applications (for assistance), I get calls daily and I mail applications out every week. I have people lined up and on the waiting list, to get this program going. I’m going to have to break the bad news to them and it’s sad because I don’t have any place to send them for roofs and furnaces,” Shearer said. “There were a lot of people depending on this program being funded.”
She said the city received funding for the program in 2012.
“Since then (2012) the state has wanted cities and counties to apply together. This was the first year, we (city and county) came to an agreement to apply together, unfortunately it did not work out,” Shearer said.
Davis said the county has received funding under this program before.
“We’ve been funded multiple times and never had a problem. We’re very upset about it because they said we’re missing the one sheet of paper. They threw out the application and did not score it. We are in touch with authorities in Columbus to find out why they did not score the application, which is pathetic,” Davis said.
He said he is unaware if there was still a possibility of funding once everything got sorted out and stated, “We’ve started down the path to resolve this situation.”
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter