A $215,000 grant approved for the City of Miami could put 40 Miami families into new homes and help low-income elderly residents with residential rehabilitation, according to the city's new grant writer.

Larry Eller, hired two months ago as the city's grant coordinator, said the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka has confirmed that Miami's grant application has been approved.

The grant will fund two programs, one for home rehabilitation and one for first-time homebuyers.

According to Eller, the rehabilitation portion of the grant will be used to help an estimated 25 low-income elderly residents who want to make cost-effective improvements to their home.

“First priority for rehabilitation assistance will go to elderly households on fixed incomes that are city utility customers with high home heating and cooling costs,” Eller said.

The program will provide $3,000 grants for energy conservation measures and other housing rehabilitation needs.

“As the provider of electricity, I think we have an obligation to do what we can to reduce heating and cooling costs for residents of Miami,” Eller said.

The second program will provide home purchase grants for 40 working families attempting to purchase their first home.

The program has a homebuyer education component to minimize defaults for the homebuyers.

“This home purchase program will provide 40 grants up to $3,250 per home.” Eller said.

Eller offered his gratitude to the First National Bank and Trust Company of Miami which sponsored the application. Additionally, Arvest Bank and Miami True Value Home Center donated to the program.

Commercial support of the program helped to build a strong application for Miami, according to Eller.

The City of Miami's application was the second to be funded among applications submitted in a four-state district.

Eller said he expects there to be a lot of interest in the two programs which are both new to Miami.

“This is the first housing rehabilitation/home purchase grant application approved for Miami's Department of Economic and Community Development,” Eller said. “It is part of an on going program to provide comprehensive community and economic development to the citizens of Miami.”

City officials believe that the grant will create an estimated $2.7 million in new economic activity in Miami through both private and public loan involvement.

Eller said the money will also help to build a strong case for additional grant money - such as Community Development Block Grant funds.

“It is a good start,” Eller said. “It is a good Christmas present for the people of Miami.”

For more information or an application for either of the assistance programs, contact Eller at (918) 541-2236.