VALDOSTA — Lowndes County celebrated the pride and joy associated with home ownership in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. William Branham Tuesday while seated on the lawn of their new home located at 3607 Meadowdale Dr.

The Branhams were able to take advantage of Lowndes County’s Community Home Investment Program grant often referred to simply as a CHIP grant. The County was awarded approximately $300,000 in CHIP funding by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs earlier this year and has worked since to assist residents in qualifying for funding that can be used for home rehabilitation projects as well as down payment assistance. While the Branhams were the first to complete the process, five additional applicants have been approved for down payment assistance through the program.

“Affordable housing continues to be an issue in Lowndes County,” stated Commissioner Edgar Roberts. “It is with great pleasure that I stand here today with Mr. and Mrs. Branham in the shadow of their new home and take a moment to reflect on all that homeownership means to a family. It is with great pride that I continue to watch residents take the initiative to apply for CHIP funding, knowing that Lowndes County had a small part in providing a resource that helped their dreams come true.”

Chairman Rod Casey echoed Commissioner Roberts’s comments adding, “While the Commission has passionately supported this project from the beginning, it would not have been possible without the hard work of staff and the continued support of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.”

Valdosta City Councilman Sonny Vickers and Habitat for Humanity Director Stewart Mullis were also in attendance. The city of Valdosta has taken advantage of the benefits of CHIP funding for some time and Habitat for Humanity can also qualify for funding assistance through the Department of Community Affairs. Due to the nature of the Department of Community Affairs’ grant application process, Lowndes County was awarded funding to benefit those residing in unincorporated Lowndes County and funds are still available.

Interested residents may begin the application process by contacting Lowndes County Zoning Administrator, Carmella Braswell, at 229-671-2400. The Community Home Investment Program (CHIP) is funded as a part of the U.S. HUD Community Development Block Grant. Due to the success of Lowndes County’s current program, officials do intend to continue to apply for future housing grant funding in an effort to continue to provide affordable housing options.

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