How Enhancement Matching Grant Programs can Benefit Your HOA
There are always improvements that need to be made around the property covered by your homeowner's association. In some cases, however, low-income areas or a lack of attention to those improvements over several years can lead to big needs that the homeowners association budget simply isn't able to cover alone. For these areas and projects, matching grant programs are a great way to get the job done and make the neighborhood look great again.
What Are Matching Grant Programs?
Matching grant programs are grants that are offered for critical improvements to neighborhoods within a certain area. While they are not offered in every state, towns within the DFW metroplex, for example, can enjoy the matching grant opportunity to help improve their neighborhood and create a more hospitable environment for everyone who calls it home. Matching grant programs require that the community association for a given area "match," or put forth some of the effort for, a grant for their community. They may have several regulations, including:
- The percentage of the grant that must be put forward by the community or HOA before the project can be started (this may be an equal match, the grant may cover two parts to each part that is offered by the HOA, or there may be some other arrangement)
- The maximum amount that can be covered by a grant
- Whether or not "sweat equity," or man hours, can be used as part of the association's contribution to the project
- Who is eligible for the grant (what neighborhoods, who will receive priority, etc)
If you think that a grant would be a great way to help improve your community, make sure you do your research before you get started! You'll need to know exactly what's offered by your community, from the types of grants that are available to the projects they can be used for. Then, you can take your proposal before the community without having to worry that you've missed an important piece of information along the way.
What Can Matching Grants be Used to Cover?
Matching grants can be used to cover a wide range of community improvement projects. They are intended for projects that are beneficial to all of the members of a community, not just the members of a specific HOA. For this reason, projects like playgrounds inside gated communities or those that are only available for association member use may not be covered. These grants can, however, be used to cover improvement projects on many things that are important to the community, including:
- Bike racks or benches
- Public art
- Improvements to local vegetation and landscaping, especially those on greenbelt trails
- Restoration of native plants throughout the area
- Improvements to parks that are open to the public and can be used by any member of the community, not just those belonging to your HOA
- Enhanced public lighting
- Other improvements to public spaces
Many communities encourage those applying for a grant to be creative in what they're attempting to accomplish. They are not, however, typically open to improvements that are intended only for a select group of residents, especially those within gated community association properties.
Looking for a matching grant program is a great way to help make improvements that will benefit all the members of your homeowner association. From safer trails for community members to walk, bike, and run to a great playground for all the kids of the community to enjoy, there are plenty of projects that could drastically improve quality of life for your residents--and a grant that will help pay for it will lighten the load and decrease the expense for all of your members.