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|Pilot program eyed for Vidalia housing|
Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said he wants to create a pilot program to use $275,000 in housing rehabilitation grant funds for the construction of new homes for those eligible.
"Why spend $15,000 to rehab an old house when we can build a 900-sq. ft. new one for $21,000?" said Copeland.
He said Sen. Mary Landrieu, who he met with Tuesday in Washington, and other federal officials are looking into the idea.
Copeland said those eligible for the rehab program must own their homes and property and fall within income guidelines.
A structure recently built by town employees and inmate labor for the Vidalia sanitation department cost only $17,000, said Copeland.
"We can build a prototype of the houses we'd like to build," said Copeland, "so that an eligible person could move into the prototype while we build them a new home on their property. We could build one home at a time this way."
He estimated that the city could build from eight to 10 houses if the criteria for the grant program can be changed.
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