The city of Madison and Jefferson County have moved to the next phase of a joint housing rehabilitation project that could assist 18 area families.

Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission held a public hearing for the project at the Board of Commissioners meeting in March and reported that it is still awaiting approval for an Indiana Housing Authority grant worth as much as $400,000 that would fund the project.

Patty Jackson, special projects manager of the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, estimated that it may be June before the state housing authority approves or denies the funding request.

The effort, which began last fall, would assist 10 households in the city and eight in the county.

The home upgrades would include the installation or restoration of roofs, windows, furnaces, handicap bathrooms and ramps, as well as painting, electrical work, plumbing and other maintenance issues.

"We're not concerned with aesthetics; we're concerned with houses being brought up to code," Jackson said.

During the first phase of the project, the organization selected 18 families that qualified for the funding. The grant is for households with a resident age 55 or older or residents who are disabled.

Phase two of the project includes an environmental review of the property and detailing the commitments from the county and city, Jackson said.

"We have to show in phase two that we're ready if the grant is funded," she said.

Last year, the city and county were approved for a federal housing preservation matching grant of about $22,000 to offset the cost of the grant match requirement. The county later voted to contribute $5,668 for the project as part of its matching funding. The city will contribute about $7,100.

Jackson also said while the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission has selected its applicants for the current effort, the organization does keep applications on file and gives priority to those that are first accepted.

Jackson said those interested in future housing rehabilitation projects can call the office at (812) 689-5505.