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RehabHandbook PDF Print E-mail

Snow Belt Housing Company, Inc.                 Cheryl L. Shenkle-O’Neill, Executive Director

7500 South State Street * Lowville, NY  13367

(315) 376-2639 * (315) 376-2518 fax

NYS Relay Service No. – TTD 1-800-662-1220

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it






                                 A.    The Handbook’s Purpose

                                 B.    Qualifying for the Program

                                 C.    Who Will Determine the Work that is Needed

D.    Repairs That Can Be Done

E.    Financing

F.    How the Program Works

G.    Hiring a Contractor 

H.   Required Documentation 


If you are handicapped or disabled, or have difficulty completing this application, please advise us of your needs when you receive this application, or call to schedule assistance.





The Housing Rehabilitation Program is intended to provide assistance to homeowners to perform rehabilitation activities that are necessary to help alleviate the substandard conditions of their homes.  Only properties that are determined to be substandard are eligible to be assisted under this program.  This handbook will explain Snow Belt’s rehabilitation program and how it works. It is meant to be a guide to the program, not a definitive presentation of the program’s policies.  Questions should be directed to:


Snow Belt Housing Company, Inc.

7500 South State Street

Lowville, New York 13367

(315) 376-2639


1. To qualify for the program your home and property must be owner-occupied (you must own and live there as your primary residence) and you must live in Lewis County.

2. You must have lived in the home for at least one year prior to your application for assistance.

3. Proof of ownership must be on file at the Lewis County Clerk’s office and you must provide a copy of the deed. 

4. All property taxes must be current and you must provide a copy of each tax bill and receipt showing paid.

5. You must have fire insurance and/or flood insurance coverage where applicable, and you must provide a copy of the insurance certificate showing it is current along with proof of payment (insurance must be current).

6. You must agree to sign a two (2), five (5), or ten (10) year affordability/residency requirement if you obtain home improvements through this program.  The grant is transferable to another income eligible applicant.  This is enforced by a Grant and Mortgage filed with the Lewis County Clerk for the amount of the cost of the rehabilitation work to your property.

7. Homes that are structurally unsound or exceed the amount of funds available will be deemed ineligible.

8. The value of your home and property after rehabilitation cannot exceed the HUD mortgage limit in Lewis County at the time.  The HUD mortgage limit at this time is $271,050.

9. Your gross income must not exceed the following limits for the size of your household.  Priority will be given to those households with the lowest incomes.  Current Lewis County Median Family Income:  $52,700


Household Size









50% Max. Income









60% Max Income









80% Max Income










10. Your gross annual income for determining eligibility includes income from all sources from all adult members of your household, including:

     a.   All wages and salaries, commissions, overtime pay, fees, tips and bonuses, and other compensation for personal services (before any payroll deductions).

     b.   Net business or farm income.  (Net business or farm losses and depreciation will not be deducted from other sources of income when calculating total household income.)

     c.   Interest, dividends, and other net income of any kind from real or personal property.

     d.  All gross periodic payments received from social security, worker’s compensation, pensions, disability, child support, alimony or unemployment benefits, and welfare assistance and other similar types of periodic receipts.

     e.   All regular pay, special pay, and allowances of a member of the Armed Forces (whether or not living in the dwelling) who is head of the family, spouse, or other person whose dependents are residing in the unit.

11. Gross income calculations shall not include:

   a.        Income from the employment of children (including foster children) under the age of 18 years.

       b.   Cash value of food stamps, real estate tax exemptions, earned income tax credit, or similar types of assistance.

        c.    Payments received for foster care and certain public volunteer, service and training programs.      

     d.  Lump sum additions to family assets (e.g. inheritances, insurance policy death benefit payments, settlement for personal/property losses, and medical expense reimbursements).

        e.    Income of a live-in aide.        

        f.     The special pay to a household member serving in the Armed Forces who is exposed to hostile fire.

        g.    Temporary, nonrecurring, or sporadic income.

        h.    Lump sum payments of SSI and Social Security benefits.

    i.        Amount of educational scholarships paid directly to a student, educational institution, or a veteran.

    j.    Periodic and/or regular contributions and/or gifts received from persons not living in the dwelling.


12. Those with more than $15,000 in liquid assets are ineligible for the program.  Liquid assets would include, but not be limited to, checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and the value of any real estate less outstanding debt (not including homeowner’s principal residence).


13. Income is based on anticipated annual income.  Therefore, we will need to project your income for this year based on the documentation provided.


14. The following are NOT ELIGIBLE:  Mobile homes older than 1976, mobile homes on rented lots and properties with land contracts.



Snow Belt Housing’s Rehabilitation Specialist will conduct an inspection.  Work items are based on these inspections and discussions with the owners of the properties and where applicable, certain work may have to be done to comply with local, State and/or National code regulations, and/or ordinances.


1. The purpose of this program is to improve the health, safety, and energy efficiency of your home.  Grant/loan money is not intended to be used for improvements that only make your house look nicer or that make it more convenient.  The following is a priority list of repairs eligible for assistance.  Any items that would cause your home to violate HUD Housing Quality Standards or local and state building codes must be addressed first.  All homes assisted with HOME funds must use a minimum of $1,000 in grant assistance.


First Priority:


Heating equipment


Septic issues

Electrical service



Plumbing fixtures


Waterlines & service

Sewer lines

Broken glass


Stairs and railings


Handicap access

Lead based paint stabilization

Lead pipe replacement



Second Priority:


Cornices and eaves





Additional electrical

Additional heat runs

Interior doors

Rodent/vermin infestation

Ceilings/wall repair



2. All rehabilitation projects shall include installation of appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if such equipment is not currently installed.

3. The grant will not pay for or reimburse for any work completed prior to the rehabilitation program.

4. The grant will not pay for any work that isn’t under contract through this rehabilitation program.



A deferred payment loan for up to 100% of eligible rehabilitation costs may be available for those homeowners whose income is at or below 50% of the Lewis County median income.  Using a combination of funding sources, eligible homeowners may receive two or three sources of funding to complete their project.   For each source, homeowners would need to own and occupy their home as their principal residence for a three (3) to five (5) year period following completion of the repairs.


A deferred payment loan for up to 100% of the eligible rehabilitation costs may also be available for those homeowners whose income is at or below 80% of the Lewis County median income.  However, these sources are limited and are subject to funding availability.  Not all sources will allow assistance for homeowners with incomes up to 80% of the Lewis County median income.  In some cases homeowners may need to contribute funds toward their project.


1. Fill out an application and send it and the required documentation to Snow Belt Housing Company, Inc.  An application is attached to the back of this handbook.

2. Once your income eligibility is verified, we will schedule an appointment with our Rehabilitation Specialist to inspect your home to determine its condition.  Our Rehabilitation Specialist will perform a preliminary inspection to verify the substandard condition of your home and determine a rough cost estimate of the work that needs to be done to bring your house up to Housing Quality Standards.  They will then prepare a detailed scope of work for your review and signature.   You will then be required to obtain three bids for your project.   The contractors will bid on the job as per the work statement.

3. Once the costs of your rehabilitation are fixed and financing committed, Snow Belt Housing Company, Inc. will review all the information and submit your application to its Board of Directors to approve a final grant/loan award.  If your project is approved, you and the contractor will sign agreements regarding the financing and the work involved.

4. The staff from Snow Belt will inspect the work in progress at appropriate times; however, the homeowners bear the final responsibility for seeing to it that the contractor’s work meets generally accepted standards.  You should understand that it will be your responsibility to carry out your housing rehabilitation plan.  This will include contacting and working with the contractors or suppliers involved.

5. The final payment for contracted work will occur only after a determination that the work was completed according to contract.  This determination will include your signature on an inspection form indicating that you are satisfied with the work.  It is important that you do a final inspection yourself before you sign.


Snow Belt Housing Company, Inc. has a list of contractors that will be made available to you.  If you know of a contractor who is not on the list, the contractor may work on your home if he/she provides references, proof of lead certification, a certificate of liability insurance, and proof of workmen’s compensation insurance.  Snow Belt requires contractors to carry a minimum of $300,000/600,000 in the event of bodily injury or death of any one person in any one accident and $50,000 in the event of property damage arising out of the work performed by the contractor.

When the contractor visits your home, review the work plan and discuss the job together. Ask the contractor if he understands the scope of work as detailed in the work statement.  Ask him when he can begin the work and when the work will be completed.

The most important thing to remember is that you are the one who will live with the contractor’s work.  Pick the contractor that you think is the best for your situation.  The contract for the work being done is between you and the contractor, Snow Belt is just administering to program and funds.  Snow Belt Housing Company, Inc. will assist you in improving your home, but ultimately you are responsible for the improvements to your home.  If the contractor you preferred is not the low bidder, you have the option to pay the difference otherwise the low bidder will be awarded the project.


The following documents must be submitted with your rehabilitation application for all adults residing in the household:      

1.  Signed copies of your last two Federal Income Tax returns and all W-2s (include all schedules if self employed) (*BOTTOM OF EACH PAGE MUST BE SIGNED & DATED BY ALL WHO FILED*)

2.      Most recent payroll stubs (covering last 3 months) – showing year-to-date earnings*.

3.   Proof of any other income (including but not limited to social security, SSI, pensions, unemployment benefits, welfare, child support, alimony, ledger books for self employed, etc)

4.   The deed to your property

5.  All latest property tax bills & receipts showing paid to date (County/Town, School, and Village) (Property taxes must be current).

6.   Proof of homeowner’s insurance & receipt showing paid to date (homeowner’s insurance must be current).

7.  Most recent bank statements for all checking and savings accounts.

8.   Proof of all asset income (including but not limited to stocks, bonds, IRA’s, 401K’s, CD’s, extra checking   accounts, extra savings accounts, etc)

9.   Proof of all public assistance from Social Services (cash assistance) if applicable.

10. A photo ID must be presented for all adults in the household at the time of the application.

11. Copies of birth certificates for all children who reside in the home.

12. Copies of social security cards for all members who reside in the home.

13. One year’s worth of electric bills or print off from National Grid website (municipal power not acceptable).

14. One year’s worth of heating bills or print off from supplier.

15. HEAP award letter (if applicable).

16. $25.00 non-refundable application fee (includes processing of application & a credit report).

(*Income eligibility is based on projected earnings for the year in which assistance is provided.).