SHIRLEY — The Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) is working with the towns of Shirley, Lunenburg, Sterling, Harvard and Groton to prepare an application for a Regional Housing Rehabilitation Program.

The application is for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) funded through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Applications are due at the department by March 29.

The grant program is a competitive application process. Applications received by the department are scored, and the applications with the highest scores receive funding.

If awarded, each of the five towns will receive funds to assist approximately four families in each town to correct health and safety code violations in their homes. Eligible projects may include repairing or replacing roofs, windows and doors; upgrading the heating, plumbing and electrical systems; correcting structural or drainage issues; removing lead and asbestos; repairing or replacing existing septic systems; addressing energy efficiency issues and tie-ins to municipal water/sewer lines.

Qualified homeowners may receive up to $35,000 to address these issues. There are no monthly payments and no interest is accrued. Eligibility is determined based on the number of people in your household and the total amount of income. For a family of four in Harvard, the income limit is $66,150.

A 15-year lien is placed on your property at the local registry of deeds. If you stay in your home for those 15 years the lien will be discharged and the loan forgiven. If you sell your house within those 15 years, a portion of the load will be paid back based on a 5 percent per year decreasing schedule.

For example, if you receive $30,000 and sell you home after seven-and-a-half years, you would pay back approximately $15,000 to the town. The town would then use those funds to assist another homeowner.

Program brochures and pre-applications are available in the town clerk’s office at the Town Hall, the Council on Aging Office or by calling Shelly Hatch, MRPC program director, at (978) 345-7376, ext. 2205.