City rehab programs help make older homes safer, livable

A retiree on a fixed income, who cares for her elderly disabled mother, lives in an older home built in 1950. Vibrant colors and the smell of fragrant roses fill the lush yard — evidence of years of hard work. However, the signs of structural decay and failure inside the tidy home are evident. A deteriorating foundation has caused the floors to be uneven, creating unsafe conditions for the elderly resident.

What can this family do to fix these problems and make their home a safe place to live?  Are repairs even possible? Is any help available?

In 2011, the College Station City Council approved guidelines for the Homeowner Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Loan programs, which use funds from the city’s HOME Investment Partnership Grant to rehabilitate, or depending on the condition of the structure, reconstruct owner-occupied homes. The program forgives a portion of the loan over a 10- or 15-year period, and the recipient repays the rest at 3 percent interest with payments less than 30 percent of their monthly income.

The first project completed under this program is the home at 1017 Fairview, which was dedicated Tuesday. Pictured below from left to right are homeowner Janie Mireles and her mother Magdalena Garza, Betty Vermeire, Susan Sharp (community development staff assistant), Charles Michalewicz (community development analyst) and Debbie Eller (community development manager).

For more information about the city’s housing assistance programs, visit or email me at

David Brower

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