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San Fernando | Valley Focus

City Offers Low-Cost Home Improvements

May 01, 1996|TIM MAY

The San Fernando City Council will make available about $300,000 in loans to help homeowners and landlords upgrade their properties to protect against possible future earthquake damage.

"It's pretty innovative," said Councilman Raul Godinez, who developed the residential seismic retrofit program with city public works officials.

"The city will pick eight to 10 property owners who want to participate, get all the engineering done, get the design and inspections done, bundle them all together, and bid them all out as a package," Godinez said. "That way, we'll get a better price and ensure quality control." The city expects to do a series of "bundled" improvement projects until all of the allocated funds are utilized.

Godinez and city officials will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. today to promote the new program, which will be paid for partially with federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

Godinez said many homeowners and landlords "don't realize their homes are substandard" and could benefit from modestly priced (between $4,000 to $6,000) retrofit projects, such as installing plywood sheeting in foundation walls.

"We'll do outreach, sort homes by their ages, and we'll say, 'Here's one that could use the retrofit,' " Godinez said.

For homeowners with qualified income levels, one-tenth of the total loan amount would be deferred each year. If the same owner stays in the home for 10 years, the loan would be 100% forgivable, Godinez said, noting that the program seeks to encourage home owners to stay in San Fernando.

Some owners of rental property can also qualify for the retrofit program, although they would be required to repay low-interest loans.

For information, call the city public works department at (818) 898-1222.

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