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Refugio County to receive $100,000 USDA grant to repair homes of low-income, elderly

By JR Ortega
Sept. 17, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.

Lenny Anzaluda

TO APPLY

Stop by the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce, 301 N. Alamo St. or call 361-526-2835.

REFUGIO - The homes of some low-income families and elderly in Refugio County will soon be repaired thanks to a $100,000 grant Refugio County will receive from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The Refugio County Community Development Foundation is accepting applications and expects to fix at least 35 homes that need repairs because of safety hazards and poor living quality, said Lenny Anzaldua, president of the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce.

Anything from no running water to no air conditioning or heat could qualify, he said.

The plan is to hire a county contractor who will hire people in the county, which will help close the unemployment gap and pump money into the county's economy, Anzaldua said.

"It's a two-fold boost," he said.

The county will follow the same principle in selecting the grant's recipients as in its Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, which is to choose the families based on pictures of the needed repairs and not on names, Anzaldua said.

"When we first started (the program), I thought we were going to be fixing windows and painting," he said. "But even in a town, there was some third-world country housing."

Anzaldua remembers one home where he could see the earth beneath the tub and the toilet did not flush properly.

"That's third world," he repeated.

The foundation had applied for the grant about five months ago and hopes to receive the grant in several weeks, Anzaldua said.

Once the county receives the grant, the foundation will form a board that will examine pictures of each home and select the recipients.

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