Home improvements can be long and costly but can improve the value of your home and quality of life. Fortunately, home repair grants can help alleviate some of the financial strain. This article addresses what these grants are, where to find them, whether you qualify for a grant, and how you can apply for them.
What Are Home Repair Grants?
A home repair grant (home improvement grant) comprises governmental financial assistance to help homeowners make certain improvements to their homes or properties. Grant funds can be issued at the federal, state, or municipal level and don’t need to be repaid.
To qualify for government grants for home improvement, applicants must meet certain requirements, which are determined by age, financial situation, and veteran status. Among the requirements listed, you might need to submit proof that you plan to keep the same home as your principal residence for a certain number of years after the home modifications.
To receive one of the free home repair grants, applicants typically need to prove that health and safety hazards exist in their home—reasons that indicate specific improvements are necessary to ensure livable conditions.
Competition for these grants, however, is intense. Even if you fulfill all the necessary qualifications for a grant, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll receive it. The best course of action is to apply for the grant as soon as possible, as these grants are a great source for financing your home improvement project.
NOTE: Even if you don’t qualify for any of the repair grants, you can still apply for one of the home improvement loans, available at low-interest rates.
Locating Home Repair Grants
There are many home improvement grants available. The best place to locate a grant usually depends on the type of grant you’re applying for—there isn’t only one area where you can find all the available forms of financial aid. One of the places you can turn to when seeking this kind of help is a government office closest to you, which will be able to provide you with information on available grants and tell you if you’re eligible to apply.
If you’re a homeowner, you’re probably wondering what grants are available for home improvements. The government doesn’t have a website that lists all the grants available to US citizens—there are no descriptions or requirements listed, nor any amounts that outline the sums provided with each specific grant.
You can, however, check out the government site https://www.usa.gov/ and browse for the available grants. We compiled a list of eight of the most prominent grants available. Perhaps you can find one that best suits you and your home and learn how to get a home improvement grant.
The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department provides funding for various home modifications, improvements, and renovations. One of the most attractive home improvement grants offered is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which provides funds for urban communities. It aims to better the living conditions of low-income individuals who often live in over-populated urban areas. The eligibility requirements of this grant are determined by the US Census Bureau, based on demographic data and the population for the chosen metropolitan area. Additionally, the allocation of funds for these community-based programs depends on such factors as population growth, poverty, and housing age.
2. National Residential Improvement Association
The NRIA is a non-government, private sector association—not affiliated with any federal, state, or county government agency. The National Residential Improvement Association offers home improvement grants for low-income families and individuals. You can discover the programs you qualify for if you fill out the questionnaire on their website. After you’ve completed this step, someone from the NRIA specialist team will get in touch with you and help you figure out the next step.
The only requirement for applying for any of these grants is that you must be over 18 years old and that you’re a homeowner.
3. U.S. Department of Agriculture
This department provides home improvement grants for homeowners living in a rural area. Besides grants, low-interest loans are also offered to low-income homeowners, enacted by the Section 504 repair program. The program also provides help for elderly homeowners to remove health and safety hazards from their homes. If you wish to apply for some of the grants or loans offered by the US Department of Agriculture, you should contact their local USDA office in your vicinity and receive more information.
4. Disability Housing Grants for Veterans
The Department of Veteran Affairs offers three home repair grants for disabled veterans who need to make modifications to their homes.
Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant
Veterans that need to make a home sustainable for independent living are eligible for this grant. The money from the grant ($77,000+) can be used to modify an existing home, build a new modified home, and even pay off a mortgage not acquired through a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan.
Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
This grant is available for those with service-related injuries. The grant sum ($15,000+) can be put towards modifying a veteran’s home to fit their needs or buy an already modified home.
Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant
The amount of this grant starts from $37,000 and can be used by both veterans and active service members living with family members. The grant can be used for those who are temporarily residing with a family member and need to modify the home to fit their needs.
5. Native American Housing Improvement Program
This program was designed with the purpose of increasing homeownership among Native American communities. The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program provides home improvement funds for constructing new homes, as well as renovating homes owned by Native Americans and Alaska Native families. The grant money can be used both on and off native lands—for new home construction, new home purchase, or renovations, as well as for refinancing loans on homes already owned by members of the Native American population.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides financial assistance to those affected by natural disasters. These funds can be used for medical expenses, childcare, and temporary housing for those whose homes have been damaged. The Individuals and Households Program assists with rent payments of those who were forced to rent elsewhere due to unlivable conditions. It even provides reimbursement of expenses for short hotel stays. And FEMA can provide funds for a full replacement of a destroyed home.
7. Weatherization Assistance Program
The US Department of Energy (DOE) provides the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to low-income households to make their homes more energy-efficient. With this program, energy costs are reduced and homeowners gain more financial independence. To qualify for any of the energy-related grants for home improvements, the household is required to be at the poverty line or 200% below. Priority is given to seniors, families with children, and disabled members of the household who need the home to be handicap accessible.
8. Historic Homeowner Grant Program
The Office of Planning provides the Historic Homeowner Grant Program to those residing in a home with historic value. The home renovation grants are usually offered to non-profit organizations, but if the home’s history is estimated to be of historical significance, its residents can get funds for any repairs and renovations, even if the living conditions are non-hazardous.
All the home improvement loan programs provide various types of assistance. In most cases, after the application is submitted and approved, the homeowner will receive a loan or cash grant that can be used for various eligible repairs.
NOTE: For those ineligible for government grants, a good source of funds for home repairs can be low-cost personal loans, often offered by HUD or USDA. These loans must be repaid, but the interest rates are extremely low.
|Home repair grants are funds provided by the government intended for low-income households.|
|There are various government grants available to US citizens for various purposes.|
|Grant requirements are strict—not everyone that applies receives funding.|
|There are other alternatives for financing home repairs, other than repair grants,|
Home Repair Grant Requirements
Your home might require some fixin’ up, and you’re thinking about how to get government grants for home repair. But you first must fulfill some eligibility requirements, which vary, depending on the type of grant you’re applying for. Note some general criteria to be considered for help from the government:
- Income Level: The homeowner’s income should not exceed 50% of the area’s median income, and the homeowner must prove that they are unable to obtain or repay a loan elsewhere.
- Age: Home improvement grants for seniors are given priority. Those who are at least 62 years of age are considered to be seniors and are first on the list of grant recipients.
- Property Type: Applicants for a grant have to own and occupy their home and need to prove that there are existing health and safety hazards to the property.
- Property Location: The property either has to be in a rural area or an impoverished urban area. And the homeowner must prove that repairs are imperative to make the home livable. Applicants should first check if their home is in an eligible area before submitting their application for a home repair assistance grant.
NOTE: The homeowner has to remain in the same home for at least three years after receiving the grant; otherwise, they need to repay the entire sum…with interest.
How to Apply for Home Repair Grants
When applying for a grant, you need to include information about your monthly income, employment status, current assets, and any mortgages or loans you may have.
The state of your property also needs to be assessed and reported upon to justify the costs of your home improvement project—you need to provide historical information about your home, the results of any previous home inspections, and quotes from any contractors you might have consulted.
Some home remodeling grants might require applicants to provide private assessments of the home’s condition and show the estimated project costs.
After you’ve put together the required documentation and filled out all the paperwork, you need to submit it to the office or organization that assigns the grant. It’s best if you do this in person because you’ll be given a receipt, proving that your application has been submitted and received.
NOTE: Make copies of all documents you submit in the application process.
Alternatives to Paying for Home Repairs
Many homes need various kinds of repairs, but not all homeowners are eligible for home repair grants. Depending on the homeowner’s financial situation and the extent of the project, there are several other options available for funding a home improvement project:
FHA 203(K) Improvement Loans
These loans allow you to buy a home that needs work and includes the renovation costs into the mortgage. But there is a limit on how much you can borrow for renovations.
A home equity line of credit—the most common type of loan for home improvements—is a line of credit secured by your home. HELOC is a revolving credit system (much like a credit card), which means that you take the amount you need when you need it and only pay interest on the used amount.
Some non-profit agencies provide free or subsidized home repairs for households in need. This type of help (much like a house renovation grant) is determined by the organization and the recipients of the cash grant.
These loans are used for financing energy-efficient upgrades—renewable energy installations and water conservation measures, which, in turn, lowers the cost of living on the property.
NOTE: Tax deductions can be used for home improvement costs. When you sell your home or remodel your home office, you can get a tax deduction on these expenses.
Obtaining grants for home renovations can be a challenging process. The most important step on the path to a government grant is to ensure you’re eligible. Not everyone that applies for a grant receives one since there is a limited number available and competition to receive them is fierce. But even if you don’t receive a government grant, there are other ways you can attain the necessary money for home improvements.