Lee’s Summit will continue running its own minor home repair program for the city’s neediest residents, but also will share money with Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity for a similar loan program that promises to stretch the dollars farther.
Councilman Derek Holland suggested at a recent meeting that Lee’s Summit use about half of its roughly $156,000 in home repair money for grants that will be overseen by the city.
The other half would pass to the Independence-based Habitat agency to extend its “Brush with Kindness” program into Lee’s Summit.
That program uses volunteer labor to get more work done with less money. Homeowners would repay the loans, enabling the money to be used again for other clients.
The maximum Habitat loan is $5,000, while the city historically has set a $10,000 ceiling on its grants.
The city had considered handing the entire home repair program to Habitat, reserving 25 percent of the funds for outright grants to needy residents. But Holland and other council members want to make sure that elderly or cash-strapped wage earners who couldn’t repay a loan weren’t squeezed out of the program.
“This way we can see how Habitat operates ... They can see how the city operates,” Holland said. “Ultimately we can see if we can roll it all to Habitat. They could do a hybrid of a grant and loan program.”
The city staff is to work with Habitat to adjust its agreement, and the council will vote on it later.
$156,000 allocated from federal block grants to aid low-income homeowners with repairs