The village of Weston (population 306) applied for Community Development Block Grant funding to rehabilitate homes for some of its lower-income residents. The funds were used to renovate owner-occupied single housing units. When the village conducted a needs assessment survey the results showed that the majority of people felt housing was a concern. The survey reported that 73.5% of available homes in Weston were in disrepair. Recognizing the need to rehabilitate its housing, village board members incorporated housing into the community action plan, with the objective of improving the outer appearance and the physical condition of existing homes.
Weston’s newest village board member proposed applying for housing funds through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Subsequently, the village was awarded a $232,914 Community Development Block Grant and Weston matched part of the grant with village funds. The old, dilapidated homes received different amenities, depending on the condition of each dwelling. These included smoke/fire and carbon monoxide detectors, light fixtures, new windows and doors, water heaters and insulation. Exterior improvements included vinyl siding, new shingles, a new porch, foundation repairs, and one home was painted.
Citizens now show more pride in Weston. They are more optimistic, and more people are involved in community projects. Homeowners are excited and proud to have had their homes renewed. The housing rehabilitation project also has affected neighboring homeowners who have made improvements to their own homes to compliment their neighbor’s.
Village Clerk Ivy Bloom said, “Only good things have come out of our participation with the housing program. I have to applaud the homeowners who filled out all the applications and have come involved in bettering our community.”