Finding Federal Grants for Home Repair

( – Would you like free money for home repairs? Roofing, insulation, and appliance replacement can be expensive and time-consuming. If your house has experienced regular wear and tear over time, or if a competitive housing market ensured you had to buy “as is,” you know the struggle of budgeting for home repairs — especially if, like most homeowners, you have a mortgage.

This is especially true for lower-income families. If you can’t afford to fix the problem entirely, then the home repair problem worsens over time, and then it costs even more money. And, if you try to sell without making the repair, that home could make you lose money, especially if the market is cool when you sell.

Fortunately, there is help available, especially for low-income households. You can explore the option of federal grants for home repair assistance.

Home Improvement Grants and Loans from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

If you are in desperate need of some home repairs, HUD offers multiple options that may help you. These are typically low-interest loans, but options include grants as well. One of the more popular options is the standard rehabilitation and repair loan, listed under Section 203(k). This is a mortgage which you can apply to the rehabilitation or pruchase of a home that is a year old or more. To qualify, the property in question needs to meet the standard established values that a conventional loan uses. Additionally, as the borrower, you need to spend at least $5,000 on rehabilitation. Costs such as disability access, roof replacement, and major landscaping typically fit the bill.

If you’re not interested in taking out another mortgage or refinancing your home, a Title I loan might be a better option. This can be applied to “useful” improvements: solar energy implementation, built-in appliances, and improvements for accessibility. You can’t use them for things considered luxury, like pools, but if you need a nonresidential structure like a shed, you might be in luck. This loan maxes out at $25,000.

Section 504 Home Repair Program

Section 504 provides loans to homeowners with very low incomes. It also provides grants (free money) to elderly homeowners (62 and up). This loan is to remove specific safety and health hazards, such as black mold. It’s a very limited program meant for people who can’t otherwise acquire an affordable loan, and there are location limits — you should live in a specific rural area. This loan is administered by the U.S. Department of Acgriculture & Rural Development.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Do you have high energy bills due to drafts? If so, the Weatherization Assistance Program might be of use to you. While states administer the program, it’s federally funded, and states will give priority to households with disabled people, children, and people over 60 years of age.

This grant requires an approved contractor who will perform an energy audit and and a full weatherization. This type of work may include HVAC repairs, insulation upgrades, efficient light source installation, and refrigerator replacement (if the existing model is not energy efficient).

Disaster Home Assistance

Natural disaster-affected area homeowners may get Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance in the form of grants from the FEMA Individual and Households Program. Only available if you live in the area of a declared disaster, you can use these grants to finance temporary housing, or to replace or repair your home if it sustained damage or is a total loss.

There are also other state options available to you in this instance, and FEMA can point you in the right direction for those as well.

If you’re having trouble with repair costs for your home, you’re not alone. The federal government has programs to assist. Reach out and apply to applicableĀ programs today.

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