City needs contractors for home repairs

This roof and the boiler and box gutter shown below were replaced over the last few years using grants from Covington’s Homeowner Repair Program.

COVINGTON, Ky. - Covington is looking for contractors to bid on $300,000 worth of small projects to help homeowners do emergency repairs. 

The majority of the money helps low-income residents - especially elderly, disabled, and veteran households - afford to fix things like furnace, roof, electric, and plumbing issues that pose a threat to health and safety.
“Covington’s historic homes are one of the City’s strongest assets, but their age can sometimes work against homeowners, especially those who don’t have the resources to make expensive repairs, said Ken Smith, the City’s Neighborhood Services Director.
“This program enables us to help our residents, some of whom desperately need a hand. But we can’t make it work without additional contractors to do the actual work,” he said.

Covington’s goal has been to seek two or three bids on every project, but “every two or three years, it seems, we need to put out an ‘all-call’ for additional contractors to make them aware of the program,” said Archie Ice II, a Housing Development Specialist for the City. “Contractors are just busy, and many don’t want to fool with the minimal qualifications necessary to apply.”
The City in particular is seeking contractors who can do general-type repairs, he said.
Contractors need: 
  • A City of Covington occupational license.
  • To not be excluded from doing business with the federal government for any reason.
  • Renovation, Repair, and Painting Certification (RRP), or better, if the project will require disturbing a painted surface.
  • Proof of insurance and workmen’s compensation. 
The City encourages businesses that are owned by women or minorities or that are Section 3 qualified to apply, but that isn’t a requirement.
Businesses that are interested should contact Archie Ice II at (859) 292-2124 or
A big advantage to the program is that contractors are paid directly by the City, Ice said, so there aren’t problems getting payment.
Through the Homeowner Repair Program, homeowners who meet income requirements - 80 percent or less of the area median income - can qualify to receive up to $5,000 for a repair.

Money for the program comes from federal Community Development Block Grant funds. In its budget passed for the fiscal year that began July 1, Covington set aside $200,000 for this program, with $100,000 for new repair projects and $100,000 for repair needs already identified.
The City has sponsored home repair assistance programs since the 1970s, and in recent years has helped 15 to 20 homeowners a year, said Community Development Manager Jeremy Wallace.
As part of a separate program, the City also set aside $100,000 to help eligible homeowners pay for exterior repairs identified through Code Enforcement citations. But all of those funds are assigned to projects in the pipeline, so the City isn’t accepting new applications for that program.
However, contractors are needed for both programs. Ice emphasized that repairs address health and safety issues, not aesthetic concerns.
Typical projects include: 
  • Roofs: Fixing or replacing leaks in the roof or gutters, including box gutters. (Contractors with experience replacing these types of gutters are especially needed.)
  • Heating: Fixing or replacing furnaces that don’t work or that leak gas or carbon monoxide.
  • Plumbing: Replacing water heaters and fixing leaks in pipes that carry natural gas, water, or sanitary waste, including from the street to the house.
  • Electrical: Fixing any hazardous situation, including at the fuse/breaker box or with wiring, switches, receptacles, and light sockets. 
“This is a ‘win-win-win’ program: Homeowners get their problems fixed, the City sees its collective housing stock improved, and contractors - which tend to be smaller, local companies - get income,” Smith said.

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