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COUNCIL ADDS TO FACE LIFT FUNDING; CRA PLAN TARGETS NORTH HOLLYWOOD.

Byline: Patrick McGreevy Daily News Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council stepped up efforts to improve the face of North Hollywood neighborhoods on Wednesday, voting to expand a program that provides matching grants of up to $7,500 to homeowners.

Until now, the grants to improve the exteriors of single-family homes have only been available to property owners who participate in the Community Redevelopment Agency's residential rehabilitation loan program or the agency's first-time home buyer program.

Only 13 property owners applied for and received grants from the program since it began in 1994, even though the CRA has set aside up to $140,000 a year for the grants - enough to help 18 homeowners annually.

As a result, city officials are looking to reduce the eligibility requirements for homeowners in the 740-acre North Hollywood Redevelopment Project Area, dropping the mandate for participants to get city residential loans or assistance in buying homes.

The action, according to CRA administrator John Molloy, ``would provide greater flexibility to the homeowner and encourage greater participation.''

The council voted Wednesday to open the grant program to all owners of single-family homes in the project area who are willing to match the city grant dollar-for-dollar in making improvements to the exterior of their houses.

The matching funds must come from non-CRA sources and residents receiving the grants must sign a contract pledging to meet strict property maintenance requirements for five years.

Molloy said the idea behind the program is to help revitalize the economy of North Hollywood and cure blight in the community by improving the appearance of its residential neighborhoods.

Mildred Weller, the president of North Hollywood Concerned Citizens, said the agency has mismanaged the program if it has only helped 13 homeowners in three years.

Weller, who filed a lawsuit last week seeking to shut down the North Hollywood redevelopment program, charged that far too much money is spent on administrators to justify the few grants being offered.

``When you can't give away $7,500 grants, you've got a problem,'' Weller said. ``It's just to keep the administrators busy.''

Agency officials did not say how much of the $140,000 budgeted for the program is for salaries and administration.

The grants can be used for improvements such as installation of a lawn and irrigation system, painting exteriors, replacing wood windows, fencing and lighting upgrades, and repair and replacement of roofs and aluminum windows.

For more information, call the CRA's North Hollywood office at (818) 753-1918.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 27, 1997
Words:412
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