Arlington, Kentucky, uses $1 million grant to rebuild damaged homes

Your home is everything. It’s your comfort and safety, but some people in our area are living in homes that are damaged beyond repair.

That’s why, in 2015, Arlington, Kentucky, received $1 million out of $6 million in federal funding the state set aside for housing assistance projects. The Carlisle County city is now putting that money to use.

The state sets aside money for Community Development Block Grants each year. Usually, it sets aside around $3 million but, when Arlington applied in 2014, the state had pooled some extra money for housing assistance.

Different problems like mold and flood damage were found in 12 homes in Arlington. The grant is paying to rebuild or repair the homes, and anything else that needs to be fixed.

Jerry Johnson owns one of the reconstructed homes. He calls it a dream come true. But up until six months ago, his home was barely livable.

"The floors were falling through, the ceilings leaked," Johnson said.

The issues kept coming, and Johnson knew he couldn’t afford to fix them.

"Someone gave me a figure, and I thought I can’t, for what I do, I can’t even attempt to do that," Johnson said.

About a year ago he found out he would receive part of the grant.

"It just floored me. I cried and cried, because who would think Arlington, much less myself, would get a grant?" Johnson said.

Arlington Mayor Bobby McGee says the city applied for a $1 million federal grant in 2014. It would be another year before a letter informed him the state approved it.

"I couldn’t believe it. I read this letter, and read and read it. I said ‘Kim, is this what I think it is?’ She said ‘Yes we got the grant,’ and I said ‘Thank you Lord,’" McGee said.

The city recently finished construction on two homes, including one for Kathy Housman, and is in the process of building more.

"It seems like a dream," Housman said.

Once the entire $1 million is dispersed, the mayor says he will reapply for another grant in 2017.

The grants are given to low- to medium-income communities with blighted properties each year. Columbus in Hickman County also received $1 million the same year as Arlington, along with all of Caldwell County.

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