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Block Grants mean success

Small businesses, low income home buyers aided

January 03, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — If you've noticed improvements in the look of the town, there's a chance they are due to the Community Block Grant program.

The program is designed to help low-to-moderate-income families and businesses in poor neighborhoods make improvements through state-funded grant money.

In order to help businesses improve the look of their storefront, they receive what is basically a loan where they pay 25 percent up front. The remaining 75 percent will be deferred for 10 years.

"There are three objectives for the grant," said Sandy Acly, Director of Economic Development for Southbridge. "The first is to assist low-to-moderate-income families. The second is address slums and blights and to prevent them. Southbridge is concerned with preventing them, since nowhere in town technically falls under the category of a slum."

If the owners keep the business or pass it down to a family member for that 10-year period, that 75 percent will be waived, as long as they are up to date on their taxes and water, heat and sewer bills. If the owners sell the business within the 10-year period, they will have to pay it back based on a sliding scale in regards to how much time has passed.

Low-to-moderate-income homeowners whose homes are in dire need of repair can be involved in a similar program. If a homeowner qualifies for the program, which revolves around heating the home and safety wellbeing of those who live there, they can receive money in a similar fashion.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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