Home improvement grants
Section 504 Home Repair Program
Offered by the US Department of Agriculture, the intent of this Single Family Housing Repair & Loan Program is to help families remain in their homes and keep them in a good state of repair, which in turn strengthens communities. There are two primary thrusts of this program, the first being to assist those families with very low income to repair or improve their homes. The other major demographic served by this program is elderly homeowners, who may need to remove hazards or obstacles in the home, or to install safety features that improve mobility and accessibility.
Eligibility for the program is determined according to the following criteria:
For grants to the elderly – you must be at least 62, and unable to repay any other kind of loan Income must be less than 50% of the average income prevalent in your area of residence You must be unable to obtain credit through any other means You must own the home you reside in, and which you intend to repair/improve The maximum grant you can receive through this program is $7,500 and the maximum loan amount is $20,000, but it is possible to be eligible for both, and receive a combined total of $27,500. Loans must be repaid over a period of 20 years, at a fixed rate of 1% interest. Grants must be repaid if the owner moves away from the improved home within three years of receiving the grant.
Miscellaneous assistance programs
Besides government programs, there is a wide range of other assistance programs that might be a fit for your circumstances, some of which are local to your area, and some of which are nationwide offerings.
- HUD – the Department of Housing and Urban Development awards money for home repair grants every year to state agencies. To check your eligibility, search your city or county along with the keyword ‘Area Agency on Aging’.
- Non-profit organizations – a group called ‘Rebuilding Together’ offers home improvement help in some communities. Another non-profit housing program called NeighborWorks was created by Congress to assist homeowners with financing for home improvements. Repairs by Habitat for Humanity helps low-income families for free, to upgrade homes and improve living quality.
- Local FHA – contact this agency about government home repair grants and home improvement grants.
- Public utilities – some utility companies will award grants to the under-privileged for improving efficiency of appliances, etc. Community development organizations – while not available in all locations, yours may be an area which does have have a community development organization, and is willing to help.
- HELOC – a home equity line of credit might be obtainable if you have equity in your home, and have some means of repaying it. Home Repair Programs – many cities and counties in the country offer housing programs and home repair grants, using block grants given them by the federal government.
The bottom line on all these home repair assistance programs and home improvement grants is that there are far more of them than you might think, and if you or someone you know is in a low-income category, you just might be eligible for one or more of them. Do some searching online, or have someone help you contact local agencies to find out about the possibilities. Help may be just a phone call away!
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