Half-a-million dollars is available only for a short time to rehabilitate houses for Bloomsburg homeowners.
If the rehabilitation work by the Town of Bloomsburg and SEDA-Council of Governments’ (SEDA-COG) Housing Program isn’t contracted by the end of November, the remaining $500,000 of the $1 million HOME grant will be returned to the state.
Because it takes several months to contract the work, those interested need to apply now.
Repairs are free for income-qualifying homeowners in the Town of Bloomsburg. Repairs may be considered to include structural, plumbing, heating, and electrical work. This includes improvements for mobility-impaired residents.
If applying homeowners live in the flood zone, they must have flood insurance.
Lifelong Bloomsburg resident Ray “Dune” Bauman III said the cost of flood insurance was worth it compared to the repairs he received.
“I look around at what they’ve done, and it’s spectacular,” Bauman said. “I’m glad I’m in the position I’m at now, as to where I was before.”
His windows were cracked and weren’t sealing properly. Now repaired, they save him a significant amount of money in heating over the winter. New front and back doors were installed.
But most importantly for him, a handicap-accessible bathroom shower and a backdoor ramp were built – plus, the backdoor was widened.
Simply being able to walk, or just get out, of the door is an act most don’t consider a luxury. But to Bauman, it’s the world.
Bauman has a mobility-impaired genetic disorder.
Indoors, he can use a walker. Outside, he uses what he calls an electric cart – a three-wheeled, battery-charged scooter – so the new ramp allows him to drive his cart from his house to his driveway. He can put his cart on his truck and experience freedom.
The freedom is excruciatingly sweet. “For the last 30 years, (this disorder) has taken away a lot of my life,” Bauman said. “When I had (greater use of my) legs, I was a hunter. I was a terrific skater and loved playing hockey. I would run 5 miles to exercise.”
Now, he sees being able to easily get into the shower or out the door as a gift.
Most people may know him from the Bloomsburg Fair. He and his dad would put in about 135 hours during fair week when his dad, Ray Bauman Jr., was superintendent of buildings and grounds. “Everybody knows us as Dune,” Bauman said.
His dad passed away 20 years ago at age 78, and had the same disorder. However, Bauman, 64, said his disorder hasn’t progressed as much.
Bauman remains upbeat. “I keep thinking how I had (use of my) legs at one point, and I didn’t do it to myself; I inherited it,” he said. “I just have to smile and keep my head up, which can be hard to do.”
Bauman loves his community and their strong support, and his two children and granddaughter. “She is way cool,” he said.
The improvements to the house where many memories remain mean the world to Bauman. He had lived in the house with his parents and brother, all of whom have passed away.
He appreciated the excellent work and conscientiousness by the work crew that was contracted for the project, Lendenmann’s Remodeling. “They were spectacular and we communicated well,” he said.
If Bauman were to give life advice, it would be to “enjoy every day. Life is very short. You just have to make yourself smile and be friendly.”
For more information, call SEDA-COG’s Housing Program at 800-326-9310.
· Own and live in a home in the Town of Bloomsburg
· Have flood insurance if home is in a flood zone
· Be current with taxes, insurance, utilities
· Live in the home for five years after work completion
Household income not to exceed*:
· 1 - $34,250
· 2 - $39,150
· 3 - $44,050
· 4 - $48,900
· 5 - $52,850
*If household exceeds five people, call SEDA-COG for those income amounts.