ASHLAND – Pre-applications for a housing rehabilitation program have been submitted and interest was strong.

Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) Housing Program Manager Jim Warrelmann said 54 pre-applications from communities in Saunders County were received.

SENDD will now be submitting all 54 pre-applications, along with a 100 plus page report, to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).

DED will be the one determining which community programs across the state will get funds from its program, including those in Saunders County.

The housing rehabilitation program’s goal is to offer grants up to $25,000 for rehabilitation of owner-occupied homes. There are eligibility guidelines.

With the City of Ashland taking the lead on administration, seven towns in Saunders County are collaborating on an effort to bring the grant dollars here.

Warrelmann said he hopes to have an announcement from the DED by the end of July if Saunders County has been accepted for funding.

“Fifty-four is a great number. It’s more than we expected,” Warrelmann said.

In Saunders County, the funding available could be $500,000, to be split up among the communities who had pre-applicants. The amount was originally $315,000, but due to high interest, he said it was raised.

Of the 54 pre-applications submitted, 18 came from Wahoo residents. There were 11 from Prague, 10 from Ashland, five from Yutan, five from Ceresco, three from Cedar Bluffs and one from Weston.

This DED grant is based on cost share with the communities. In order to participate, each city or village needed to commit to a 10 percent match for total funding for its community. Estimated amount of match per project was determined to be $3,150 by SENDD.

Yutan City Administrator Cole Bockelmann said the city provided a match of $12,600 in funds and hopes to be able to help at least four homeowners.

Wahoo City Administrator Melissa Harrell said Wahoo had provided a match of $15,750, which could help up to five homes in Wahoo.

But, that many homes may not be able to be in the program, based on the total number of dollars being handed out by the DED and the number of communities involved in the county-wide program.

Harrell said if the grant is received, then the city will have to decide which applicants would receive the funding.

The number of pre-applications received was not surprising to Harrell.

“It’s been in line with what we’ve been expecting,” Harrell said.

Ashland City Administrator Jessica Quady said Ashland’s experience with the housing rehabilitation program was about what they had been expecting as well.

Quady said the City of Ashland committed $15,750 to help an estimated five homes.

She said if the county did receive the funding, then she hoped to see more applicants from Ashland than in the pre-application phase.

Quady said if the county didn’t get the funding it was hoping for, then it would just wait for a similar program.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to go again. We’d try again as soon as we possibly could,” Quady said.

Ceresco Village Clerk Joan Lindgren said she saw more interest in the housing rehabilitation program than she initially expected. The vil-

lage decided on a match of $9,450.

“The process all went very smoothly,” Lindgren said.

But, this was just round one of the process.

Warrelmann said once DED makes its decision on grant recipients, those who submitted pre-applications would need to fill out more detailed applications to the city or village in order to be considered for housing rehabilitation.

If the grant is awarded to Saunders County, it is expected that the determination of how much each community will get will be made locally.

(Staff Report Suzi Nelson contributed to this report.)

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