Area homeowners lacking safe drinking water, or with no septic system or a failing system, are eligible for financial help.

Mount Rogers Planning District Commission is applying for grant funds for 2020 through the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development. The state and federally-funded program offers assistance for low- to moderate-income families having issues with a safe drinking water source or with a failed septic/absorption system.

“MRPDC has led the state in number of projects funded along with dollar amounts spent in Southwest Virginia for the past two years,” said Josh Smith, regional planner. “This program will open back up to the public within the next 45 days.”

This means that homeowners who meet the qualifications can apply for free financial assistance to solve their drinking water and/or septic system issues.

“We averaged 12 homes in Southwest Virginia with a total of over $700,000 in grants in 2018 to make the homes warm, safe and habitable,” Smith said. “In 2019, we did 13 with over $800,000 in grants.”

Smith expects as much if not more funding to be available in 2020.

“In 2020 we are anticipating 13 more homes on a first-come, first-served basis,” he said. The number will actually depend on approved applications and availability of funding. There could be more, or less, funding available.

The application season for 2020 opens in mid-October. Interested homeowners must apply through the MRPDC. The local office is at 1021 Terrace Drive in Marion. Applicants will need proof of income, proof of property ownership, and must live in the home. Applications will be accepted through July 2020.

“There is no limit to the number of applications we can submit,” Smith said. “We simply submit them until the money runs out.”

MRPDC serves the counties of Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe, and the independent cities of Bristol and Galax. For more information, call 276-783-5103.

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