Borough group assists homeowners with the HELP Grant

PIA loosens requirements to help homeowners with restoration

The PIA was created to help residents restore their old homes with original construction while keeping them livable and safe for residents.

The Palmyra Improvement Association group’s main goal is to improve and beautify Palmyra.

Led by John Casparro, the PIA hosts a number of events each year within the community, with the large majority of the funds raised from those events funding its HELP Grant. That grant,, also known as the Home Exterior and Landscaping Program Grant, was first established in 2019 to encourage Palmyra homeowners in restoring their properties to their more original form.

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Since that point, the PIA has loosened its requirements to help borough homeowners with a number of different projects.

“It was started as a way to help homeowners, regardless of their income, to kickstart their projects that would enhance their curb appeal,” HELP Grant Coordinator Kwan Hui said. “How nice the front of your house can shape the vibe of the neighborhood.”

Casparro and the PIA helped clean up Broad Street, Palmyra’s main thoroughfare, to make it look more inviting and vibrant for passersby. The same is hoped for by way of the HELP Grant, and so far, a number of residents have applied. The grant money itself has increased over time as the PIA’s impact has increased in the borough.

This year, three recipients will receive part of the $2,000 in allotted money for this year’s HELP Grant: one $1,000 recipient and two $500 recipients. One of the notable parts of the selection process is that no bias is in the mix. All applications will be examined and judged fairly by a panel before winners are picked.

“There is a selection criteria, because we want to be as objective as possible,” Hui said. “It’s a weighted, 100-point system, including questions like how critical is the property that needs improvement and will your project really restore the character of the street?”

The best part about the grant is that a wide array of projects are eligible to be in the running for it, projects like masonry repair, driveway/walkway paving, porch restoration, painting and more. 

This year’s deadline was extended from Aug. 31 to Sept. 30, allowing residents one extra month to figure out any contractor situations with the project or to submit it as a DIY endeavor.

All applicants will be reviewed in October, with recipients notified and awarded in November. As part of the timeline of events, awarded projects must be completed within six months of award notification as stated on the PIA’s website.

For more information on the HELP Grant, there is a helpful tab under Our Work on the official PIA website.


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