Group receives $736,000 grant for home repair in Carondelet

CARONDELET — Antoinette and Raymond Frame knew their roof was leaking, but it suddenly got much worse recently when a tree fell on their house during a windstorm. Without much of an income, they didn’t have money to fix it. Fortunately, help came from a neighborhood non-profit, thanks to a large federal grant.

The Carondelet Community Betterment Federation fixed the Frame’s roof and also built a new porch for the home located in the 6300 block of Vermont Avenue.

“It started leaking probably six-eight months ago,” Ms. Frame said. “We tried to tarp it, but it was still coming in.”

Antoinette Frame, 57, is disabled. So is her daughter, who has severe emotional and psychological problems. Raymond Frame doesn’t work. 

The federation recently received a $736,000 grant to provide major repairs to senior citizens and disabled homeowners in need like the Frames in the 63111 zip code. The grant came from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines Competitive Affordable Housing Program.

The agency plans to serve 30 homes for those making 80 percent or less of the median income. That’s $42,500 for two senior citizens. Ten homes will be for people making 60 percent or below the median income, or $31,000 for a two-person household.

The Frame’s Home

“I’ve got two years to spend this money. I plan on spending it all this year,” said Fred Hessel, executive director of the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation. The average award is about $16,000, he said.

Eligible work might include fixing roofs, tuckpointing and installing new furnaces, Hessel said. The removal of a tree in danger of falling on a house also might be eligible for funding.

In its checks of applications, the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation found a furnace that gas company workers had tagged as unsafe. It also found an antique thermostat. In many cases, tarps covered a roof.

The condition of the houses in the Carondelet neighborhood is probably worse than the average on the south side, Hessel said. A main problem is deferred maintenance.

“There’s a huge need,” Hessel said. Easily hundreds of buildings need work, he said.

Hessel said he would like to apply for funding for nearby zip codes as well as 63111. Hessel tried twice before to get a grant, without success. 

While many homes in Carondelet are in poor condition, there still is a great potential there, Hessel said. “It’s depressed. It’s the place to buy if you’re a young person,” he said.

The Frames moved into their home in October 1994. It was built around 1860. Workers on the Frames’ roof removed two layers of roof from one side and five from another side.

“This is like winning the lottery,” said Ms. Frame. “This is better than winning the lottery.”

Jim Merkel

Author: Jim Merkel

Born and raised in St. Louis, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of four books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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