Saint Peter and Minnesota Valley Action Council are teaming up to establish a Small Cities Development Program to help families make safety and basic improvements to their home.

Funding for the program could be available in 2019 through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, with the potential to receive between 50-thousand to 100-thousand dollars to aid in the rehab of 20 homes.

City Administrator Todd Prafke anticipates there will be interest in the program for moderate-income families to be able to make improvements that they might not otherwise be able to afford. 

“The goal really is to improve housing stock and to help affordability, help working families be able to improve their housing. Whether it’s a new furnace, or whether it’s a roof, or whether it’s some new weather-tight windows. Whatever it might be in those areas, we want to try and help do that. Because good housing stock is really one of the critical factors of livability within a community.”

The City share would be between 3-thousand and 5-thousand dollars for each project.

Officials say the target area of the funds would be in the core of Saint Peter, which would be several blocks in each direction from Minnesota Square Park.

“We really are trying to attack challenges that our whole nation faces. With two prongs, one of which is the new housing that we talk about at Traverse Green, the second of which is rehabilitating housing that we have within our community already. So, if we can work on both of those tracks, we think we can do a very good job on ensuring sustainability within our community, affordability within our community and really helping people have that quality housing that’s necessary.”

Before the application process for funding starts, MVAC will undertake a study of households to establish primary target areas and secondary target areas.

Pre-application for the Small Cities Development Program grant is due in November. If Saint Peter ranks high enough, the full application would be submitted in February. Funding would be announced next summer, with disbursement of funds in September of 2019.