Rochester,, MN (KROC-AM News) - A new program aimed at easing the affordable housing crunch in the Rochester area was officially launched today by the Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The Housing Rehabilitation Program will provide assistance to qualifying low and moderate income homeowners for maintaining, repairing and improving their homes.

The assistance will come in two forms. Rehabilitation loans for between $5000 and $25,000 are available to pay for the correction of hazardous conditions or code violations, eliminate safety hazards, repair or replace major systems, improve energy efficiency, along with modifications for people with disabilities or other interior or exterior deficiencies. The loans carry an interest rate of 2 percent, but principal and interest payments are deferred until the home is sold.

Accessibility loans of up to $5000 can be used to eliminate architectural barriers and install special equipment or appliances to assist disabled or elderly homeowners. The accessibility loans have no interest and are forgivable over a seven-year period.

Both loan programs are being offered on a first come first served basis to qualified households. The household income limit for one person is $46,000, while a family of four with an income of under $65,700 would it be eligible.

To learn more about the program or to apply, contact the Olmsted County HRA at 507-328-7150 or olmstedHRA@co.olmsted.mn.us