Bluffton committee rejects mobile home foundation proposal

cconley@islandpacket.comMay 1, 2012 

A proposal to shore up aging mobile homes in Bluffton by building concrete foundations was rejected Tuesday by a town committee.

The Affordable Housing Committee voted not to pursue a plan introduced in January by Garfield Moss through his Bluffton Non-Profit Housing Corp.

Moss said he won't move forward with the program without town support.

"If the town is not receptive to it," he said, "I am not going to put any more time into it."

Moss proposed paying for the program by expanding the town's "Safe and Dry" grants for roof repairs and other home improvements from its current cap of $5,000 per project to $6,700. He estimated each foundation would cost about $6,500 to install, plus a $200 processing fee per installation for his housing nonprofit.

After the foundations were installed, homeowners could qualify for up to $15,000 in federal weatherization grants to improve doors, windows and heating and air-conditioner systems, he said. Moss' organization would have sought bids for the construction.

Moss said the effort was aimed at black residents who live in substandard homes.

The Safe and Dry program already has a waiting list, and committee members said money is not available to expand it.

"Right now, we're stuck and have no money to support this," said Town Council member Karen Lavery, who sits on the committee.

Some members urged Moss to launch a pilot program proving the idea is viable. Others suggested the idea was better suited for the private sector.

Moss said his nonprofit couldn't afford to handle the project by itself.

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