Mountain Projects receives grant to restore homes

By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Nov 02, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo Pictured from left is Rep. Beverly Elliot from Congressman Mark Meadows office, Betty Thompson, Patsy Dowling, Randall Gore, Rural Development State Director, Rep. Freddie Harrill from Sen. Kay Hagan's office, Vivian Bumgarner, Mayor Gavin Brown, Cheryl Wilkins, Elizabeth Feichter, Lynn Milner and Bob Fulbright.

USDA State Director Randall Gore visited Waynesville last week to present a certificate to Mountain Projects, Inc. announcing a $50,000 Housing Preservation grant, which will benefit low income homeowners in Haywood and Jackson counties.

The grant funds will allow homeowners in rural Jackson and Haywood counties to make accessibility modifications, energy efficiency improvements and dangerous housing condition repairs.

“I know you guys have to be extremely proud of what you do here,” Gore said to the Mountain Projects staff. “I know it’s got to be rewarding. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of it.”

Freddie Harrill, Western Regional Liaison for the office of Sen. Kay Hagan, was also in attendance for the ceremony.

“This is something that will keep people in their homes where they’re comfortable and keep them around family,” Harrill said about the preservation grant.

Patsy Dowling, executive director of Mountain Projects, said rural development grants Mountain Projects received had benefitted 40 homes over the years.

“The USDA has been a strong part of that, and we appreciate that they’ve been allowing us to have these funds,” Dowling said.

Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown said he was pleased to see such good government at work.

“Unfortunately, the public doesn’t see this enough,” Brown said. “This is the perfect example of how the government helps people. I’m so grateful that they’ve come here to help — because that’s what it’s all about.”

Vivian Bumgarner, currently the housing development program coordinator, has been involved with Mountain Projects Inc. for more than 30 years. She said she had seen how beneficial the USDA grants had been for the community.

“It does help a lot of people,” Bumgarner said. “It’s tough for the elderly and the handicapped. The sad part is we can’t help everybody. It’s just an awesome program to be able to help a lot of people in need.”

Since the start of the Obama administration, USDA has invested more than $6.3 billion in rural housing, energy and rural businesses, utilities and community programs across rural North Carolina.

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