ETN, Maine — The town has begun soliciting applications for a grant program that would provide funding to low-income residents for home improvements.

Ron Harriman, an economic development consultant for the town who helped secure the $250,000 grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said it’s a big deal for a little community.

“Etna was one of seven communities statewide, I think, to get funding for this program,” Harriman said Tuesday. “It was a competitive process.”

The funds, which are available to income-eligible homeowners, can be used for renovations or improvements including roofing, electric or heating systems, replacement windows or doors.

Harriman said individual grants will range from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on need, and homes that have serious safety issues will be prioritized. As many as 20 or 25 families in Etna could benefit from the program.

“These are grants, not loans,” he said. “That’s an important distinction these days.”

Applications for the grant program are available at the Etna town office or by contacting the Bangor office of the Department of Economic and Community Development. The eligibility requirements depend on family size, but a single homeowner making less than $27,600 is eligible. For a family of two, the cutoff is $31,550, and for a family of four, $39,450.

In addition to income guidelines, applicants must provide proof of ownership and be able to document in-come for the last 12 months.

Harriman stressed that not all applicants will receive funding, but he encouraged anyone who is eligible to apply. A local review committee will make the final decision for distributing funds.

“The application process is confidential,” he said. “We’ll be reviewing needs not names.”

Brewer, another community that received funding, also benefited from the program in 2003 when 22 homes and 16 apartment buildings were improved.

Interested homeowners in Etna can contact the town office at 269-3551 or the Community Development Office in Bangor at 947-8595.