The Ultimate Guide to
Home Repair Grants

By: Malea Ritz

If you have a house in need of repair, there are government-sponsored programs that can help those who qualify. These grants are not for those who simply want to remodel their home—these grants are for people who really need them. These grants are meant to help community members obtain safe and sanitary housing for themselves and their families. 

What is a home repair grant?

A home repair grant is financial aid, or free money, issued by federal and local governments. Each grant is designed to help homeowners make select improvements to their home, often to correct health and safety hazards.”

Types of home repair grants

There are numerous home repair grants and home improvement grants, each designed for use by different groups of people and communities. Grant eligibility will vary by type, but it’s generally dependent on income, location, and project details that the money would be allocated to.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Single Family Housing Repair Grants

Who is Eligible? Low-Income Seniors
Eligibility Criteria

 

Coverage

 

  • Removal of health and safety hazards
  • Can be used for mobile home repairs
Money Available Max of $7,500
Terms of Grant If property is sold in less than 3 years, grants must be repaid
Application Apply at your local USDA Rural Development (RD) office

What you’ll need:

  • Uniform Residential Loan Application—Form 410-4
  • Authorization to Release Information—Form RD 3550-1
  • Budget and/or Financial Statement—Form 1994-3
  • Verification of Income and Assets—
    • Proof of income for all adults of the household
    • Copies of benefit award letters to verify pension, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), welfare, and other similar income sources
    • Copies of bank or brokerage company statements for the most recent two month period
  • Evidence of Ownership—can provide the deed, tax records, or affidavits in the community to confirm the individual has owned the home for 10+ years
Deadline Accepted year-round

VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

Who is Eligible? Veterans/Military
Eligibility Criteria

 

 

Veterans or Service members with disabilities who have experienced one or more of the following conditions:

  • Loss of or loss of use of either (1) both arms, (2)  both legs, (3) one leg and one arm
  • Blindness in both eyes or having only light perception, plus loss of/loss of use of one leg
  • Loss of or loss of use of one leg and residuals of organic disease or injury
  • Certain severe burns
  • The loss or loss of use of 1+ lower extremities due to service on or after September 11, 2001, which affects balance or the need for braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair

For additional eligibility information, contact: sahinfo.vbaco@va.gov

Coverage
Purchases, construction, or renovations of a home to be disability-adapted
Money Available
Max of $39,669
Terms of Grant
  • No one can use the grant more than three times up to the maximum amount available
  • Home must be owned by the eligible individual
Application

 

To apply, complete: Application Form

Deadline None listed, but in accordance with the fiscal year due to funding made available

Housing Improvement Program (HIP)

Who is Eligible? American Indians/Alaskan Natives
Eligibility Criteria Must be one of the following:

  • Member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe
  • Alaskan Native

Must be all of the following:

  • Income not exceeding 150% of the U.S. DHHS Poverty Guidelines
  • Have no other resource for housing assistance
  • Either (1) Live within your tribe’s approved tribal service area; OR (2) Live in another tribe’s service area and have permission to be part of their Tribal Work Plan
  • Either (1) Own and reside in substandard housing that was not acquired through a federally sponsored housing program; OR (2) Have no housing at all
Coverage

 

  • Interim Improvements: Housing repairs for conditions that threaten the health and/or safety of the occupants
  • Repairs and Renovation: Repairs/renovation to meet applicable building code standards
  • Replacement Housing: Replacement home if current housing cannot be brought to applicable building code standards
  • New Housing: New home if you do not own a home
    • You may be eligible if you’re the owner/leaseholder of land suitable for housing (Must be at least a 25-year lease at time of assistance)
Money Available
  • Interim Improvements: $7,500
  • Repairs and Renovation: $60,000
  • Replacement Housing: A modest house (only provided once)
  • New Housing: Max of $75,000 assistance towards the purchase of a modest house
Terms of Grant
HIP Frequently Asked Questions: View here
Application

 

To apply for HIP assistance, submit the following documents to your tribal office:

  1. Complete HIP Application: HIP Application Form
  2. Copy of your Tribal Enrollment Card (Tribal ID)
  3. Proof of Income for Entire Household
  4. Proof of Land or obtain a Land lease
  5. Proof of Disability (if claiming disability in HIP Application)

For other questions:

  • Contact your regional BIA office: View contact list
  • Contact your tribal social service provider
Deadline There is no deadline

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Grants

Who is Eligible? Those Affected by Natural Disaster
Eligibility Criteria
  • Must be a U.S. homeowner affected by a natural disaster
  • Must show documented proof of ownership, income loss, and/or information about your housing situation before the disaster occurred
Coverage

 

 

  • Home Repairs: May involve structural, windows, doors, cabinetry, septic, sewage, well, water system, HVAC systems, utilities, entrances and exits to home, and repairs related to a mobile home security through blocking, leveling, anchoring, or resetting fuel or septic lines.
  • Temporary Housing: For temporary living in rental properties—some areas provide government housing units as a last resort
  • Lodging Expense Reimbursement: Reimbursement for hotel expenses over a short amount of time due to inaccessibility or utility outage if not covered by insurance or other programs
  • Home Replacement: For homeowners whose home was destroyed in a natural disaster
  • Semi-permanent or permanent home construction
  • Other Needs Assistance: Medical and dental expenses, funeral and burial costs, clean-up items, fuel, repairing/replacing vehicles damaged by the disaster or public transportation, moving and storage expenses related to the disaster, or clothing, household items, special tools required for job, or educational materials.
Money Available Up to $33,000 
Terms of Grant

 

Insurance

  • You must file a claim with your insurance agent before applying for assistance—failure to do so may affect your eligibility. Note: Assistance isn’t provided for losses already covered by insurance
  • You have 12 months from the date you registered with FEMA to submit your insurance information for review.
  • Flood insurance may be required in certain circumstances
Application

 

To Apply: Complete Application Form

Deadline None listed

HOME Investment Partnerships Program

Who is Eligible? States/Nonprofits
Eligibility Criteria
  • Applicants should be states, localities, & nonprofit groups
  • Participating jurisdictions must match every dollar of funds used from the program, aside from administrative costs and predevelopment loans that don’t progress
Coverage Used for those investing in the creation of affordable housing purchases, construction, or rehabilitation for low-income people
Money Available
  • States receive either their formula allocation or $3 million, depending on the greater amount.
  • Local jurisdictions receive at least $500,000 under formula 
Terms of Grant

 

  • Provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • HOME-funded housing units must remain affordable long-term (20 years for new construction, five to 15 years for homeownership housing and rehab)
  • Jurisdictions have two years to commit funds and five years to spend them.
Application To see who administers the HOME program in your area: View here

  • If you have more questions, contact the HUD field office that serves your area: View here
Deadline None listed

HUD Community Development Block Grant Program

Who is Eligible? Communities
Eligibility Criteria Applicants should be communities looking to address development needs
Coverage

 

  • Prevents or eliminates blight
  • Addresses community development needs that pose an urgent threat
Money Available
Varies, depending on the project
Terms of Grant
At least 70% of funds must be used for low- and moderate-income individuals
Application HUD field office
Deadline None listed

Additional financial assistance opportunities for homeowners

If a home repair grant isn’t the right fit for you, there are other options available:

  • Habitat for Humanity. Habitat’s Home Repair Program is intended to keep homes and communities livable and safe—the program relies on donations for necessary supplies. Coverage includes minor work such as weatherization energy improvements, landscaping, painting, plumbing, etc. Contact your local Habitat for Humanity here.
  • Rebuilding Together. Rebuilding Together helps homeowners who have been impacted by a natural disaster, as well as low-income individuals. Coverage includes repairs and maintenance. Find your local affiliate here.
  • 203K loan—The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers a 203K loan, a popular option that lets homeowners borrow cash to use toward home projects and repairs at a low interest rate. 
  • USDA and HUD—These organizations offer additional low-cost options available to those that meet eligibility requirements.
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)—If you’ve owned your home long enough to build equity on it, you have the opportunity to gain access to that money through a HELOC. These lines of credit allow you to use the difference between your home’s value and mortgage balance as collateral. The upside is that interest rates are much lower than credit cards, but the downside is that home equity lenders place a second lien on your home which allows them to seize the home in the event you fail to make payments on time.
  • Green energy grants or tax credits—If any of the improvements you’re making to your home are for energy efficiency, you may be eligible for green energy grants and credits. There are Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans available to some property owners and businesses for clean energy projects. Approval for this loan is based on the property equity being increased and is used as collateral. Up to 15% of a property’s value is usually the amount available in this situation.
  • Cash-out refinancing—This involves the financing of an existing mortgage with the new mortgage being a greater amount than the current, allowing the borrower to gain the difference between the two loans in cash.

Who is eligible for a home repair grant?

The state, local, and federal government provides loans for many different types of people and circumstances. There are home repair grants for senior citizens, mobile homeowners, disabled veterans, low-income Native Americans, homeowners dealing with disaster recovery, entire communities, and low-income people in rural areas.  To determine if you’re eligible, there’s a useful tool available on the grants.gov website. Under the “Search Grants” tab, select “Individuals” to narrow your search results. 

How do I apply for home repair grants?

Home repair grants can be found on the following websites:

  • USDA: Visit site
  • HUD: Visit site
  • FEMA: Visit site
  • U.S. government benefits page: Visit site
  • The National Residential Improvement Association: Visit site (Also offers tax credits, home improvement loans, discount programs, and local incentives to help complete your project. The form to apply can be filled out on their website.)

When applying for a grant, educate yourself on the full requirements for eligibility and gather all of the necessary documentation you may need to qualify. Keep in mind that grants can be limited and typically only select eligible applicants are chosen. Additionally, check the corresponding website to stay on top of deadlines to submit. Then, be patient—it can take time for the government to gather the money to disburse to you.

About the Author

Malea Ritz works in public relations at financial services focused firm BackBay Communications and comes from a journalism background at real estate and finance publication Banker & Tradesman. As a new homeowner, she loves learning and writing about ways to care for your home.


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