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‘Like a brand new home’ for tribal member homes rehabilitated under tax credit

By Joe Morey

News Editor

Tuesday, March 5, was a day that Sharon Starr won’t soon forget. The long-time front-line employee of the tribal office got the keys to her home after eight and a half weeks of living in temporary housing.

These weren’t the keys to the home she’d known since 1995 though, something big had happened over that time. Although the same home, these keys had basically unlocked what she described as a brand new home.

“I’ve never had a new house,” Sharon said. Her home was one of 28 LCO Housing units that are being remodeled under the 2018 Low Income Housing Tax Credit Project. For Sharon, it was an emotional tour after she saw just how much her home had changed. It was basically a brand new home, both interior and on the outside.

The current project began Nov. 1, 2018, and is scheduled to be completed by December 2019.

LCO Housing Director Mark Montano said all the homes will be occupied by then, but there will still be some exterior work to be completed, such as blacktopping driveways. He said all 28 homes will receive new blacktop.

The homes being rehabilitated were originally built from 1974 through 1989, and are located in the Drytown, Watertower, Bacon Strip, Bacon Square, Gurno Lake, Six Mile, Conger Road and Signor communities.

Greg Johnson, Sr. Project Manager from Woodstone, said seven homes are done at a time while the families are moved into temporary housing. It takes eight and a half weeks to complete the renovation.

“We have portable storage units placed on each site, so the families are able to leave their belongings there and only bring what they need with them. It makes it a lot easier,” explained Montano.

Each home has new energy efficient HVAC systems with central air conditioning. Montano said the central air helps improve air quality in the home with less humidity.

“Recognition needs to be given to the Housing Authority for the vast improvements to the Housing Authority homes in our communities,” Tribal Governing Board member Rose Gokee said. “Take an opportunity to ride through some of the communities such as Drytown and Water Tower and you will see the wonderful changes.”

“The members of the tribe deserve more than this,” Montano said. “We are throwing everything we can into these homes.”

Montano said Housing recently applied for another Low Income Housing Tax Credit Project that would provide funding to fix 36 additional homes.

“We are the only tribe in Wisconsin to apply so we have a good chance. We’ll know next month,” Montano stated.

To date, LCO Housing Authority under these projects since 2014, have remodeled 77 homes. The mold remediation grant saw 21 homes and the first LIHTC saw 24 homes done, and Housing did four homes on their own, prior to the 28 homes being done under the current project.

Chairman Louis Taylor commended the LCO Housing staff for making the project happen and is hoping to see more in the future. Chairman Taylor also said that he was excited to move forward with this project and in seeing the LCO communities look better.

Rehabilitation work under the current LIHTC Project includes the following:

Demolition Phase; Removal/Demo of exterior and interior materials with the exception of acceptable framing, floor structures and roof structures; Removal of HVAC components, domestic water lines and related fixtures; Select demolition of foundation walls due to bowed walls and failing block.

Reconstruction Phase; Select homes will receive exterior foundational waterproofing and drain tile; Installation of an egress window in all basements; Landscaping to improve water drainage away from house; High performance building envelope; Insulation R values will be increased from R-13 to R-20 on exterior walls and R-20 to R-50 in the ceilings; High performance siding; Metal roofing with seamless gutter system; New windows, doors, solid core interior doors, cabinetry and interior finishes; Upgraded flooring system; 96+ efficient furnaces, central air conditioning, air exchangers and new ductwork; Installation of new PEX domestic water lines and fixtures; LED energy efficient lighting; Installation of garages at locations where none exist; New porches and covered porches, sidewalks; Moisture activated exhaust fans; Commercial grade locks and hardware; Americans with Disabilities Act compatible upgrades in select homes.

From left to right) David Hackett, foreman, Greg Johnson, Woodstone Sr. Project Manager, Rob Kammueller, Superintendent, Mark Montano, LCO Housing Director handing the keys to Sharon Starr, Chris Rusk, LCO Housing and LCO Chairman Louis Taylor.

Spray foam insulation was used on the rehabilitated homes

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