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Potsdam seeks CDBG applicants

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POTSDAM — The town is looking for low-income residents with homes needing improvements to apply for this year’s round of Community Development Block Grant funding.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development distributes the grant to states, which in turn doles it out to local communities.

Potsdam applies for the grant every two years. In 2011, it received the full amount allowed, $400,000, all of which will be spent by the end of the 2013.

If the money is not spent by the end of the year, the state takes back whatever is left.

“We typically have had very strong demand for this program,” said Frederick J. Hanss, director of Potsdam’s Planning & Development Department.

There are still 10 people on the waiting list, but Mr. Hanss said he would like to see at least double the number of applicants before submitting the town’s grant application to the state on Dec. 20.

A long list shows the state that Potsdam has a real need for the money, he said.

Only homeowners who live in the town, outside the villages of Potsdam and Norwood, are eligible to apply. The villages can apply for their own CDBG grants, separate from the town.

If applicants can demonstrate their financial need, Mr. Hanss will inspect their homes to ensure that repairs and renovations are necessary.

Applicants will not receive their money right away. Instead, the town board doles out the funds over the two-year period.

This distribution happens anonymously. The names of those who receive CDBG money are not public information.

The town wants to make sure everyone who needs the money ends up on the application list, but Mr. Hanss said those people contact his office to make their need known.

“It’s important that they reach out and let us know that they’re there,” he said.

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