Cuyahoga County Offers Discounted Home Improvement Loans

Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, Vice President Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, Vice President Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Thanks to the Home Enhancement Loan Program (HELP) promoted by Cuyahoga County, homes can become more beautiful at very favorable interest rates.

HELP allows homeowners in all of Cuyahoga County communities (except Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls Township, and Hunting Valley) to borrow money for repairing or remodeling homes at three percentage points below a bank’s market rate for home improvement loans.

HELP has no restrictions on a borrower’s income and few limitations on what improvements can be made to a property. Both owner occupied and investment properties are eligible.

“Homeowners looking to finance home renovation projects can receive help in the form of reduced loan rates. These 3% loan rate reductions coupled with the possibility of a 10 year term allows maximum flexibility for homeowners,” reports Matt Kuzma, personal banker at the Bay Village KeyBank Branch.

Matt Kuzma, personal banker at the Bay Village KeyBank Branch

Matt Kuzma, personal banker at the Bay Village KeyBank Branch

“This program was started in 1999 with help of the Gund Foundation,” said former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, Vice President Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

“We came to them with an idea to buy down loan rates for home improvement loans, to find a way to backstop these loans with lower interest rates and encourage people to fix up their homes.

“Our feeling was we needed to encourage people to do this. We give up a little on interest, but in return the county would get improved properties.”

Over the years, the HELP Program has assisted in $150 million in loans to over 10,000 borrowers. But the program has suffered from lack of publicity. “The former County Executive didn’t understand the importance of this program. We need to make people aware that they can borrow money at a very low rate of interest,” said Rokakis.

Applications are available at any bank branch of these participating banks: First Federal of Lakewood, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, PNC Bank and U.S. Bank. For additional information, please call (216) 443-2149.

Or contact Matthew Kuzma at Key Bank office located on Wolf Road in Bay Village. (440) 249-4876.

Details about the program can be seen here: http://development.cuyahogacounty.us/pdf_development/en-US/HELP-2013.pdf

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