Financial Assistance for House Repairs

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Financial Assistance for House Repairs

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plumbing-840835_640Having seen a few posts on house repair challenges, I thought I would add a possible resource. It won't help if you have a spouse or parent who insists on doing the work him or herself, but it's still good to know.

Most cities or counties have a Housing Authority office. In our county, there is a Housing Rehabilitation program for low income families, the elderly, and those who are disabled. If someone living in the house is over age 62 or disabled, the income guidelines are more lenient. Depending on your situation and/or income, you can qualify for 3% or 5% loans to fix-up your house. This can include replacing old appliances, updating bathrooms and kitchens, and making a house accessible for a disabled person. For those who are elderly or disabled, part of the cost is covered by a grant AND the loan is deferred. This means you don't have to pay it back until you sell the house.

We found out about this after our daughter was born at 28 weeks gestation. We brought her home in September and a month later, the furnace went out. We were a very low income family at the time. The housing authority replaced the furnace for us and did some updating in our house. That was 22 years ago and, at the time, it was a 1% loan. I don't know what we would have done without it.

For anyone who has a parent living with them or are caring for a spouse who can no longer work, this might be something to check into before something goes wrong.

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Hussy

Kaye, I agree with you about the difficulty in finding senior resource booklets. I like to keep copies on hand of the one that is published in our area so that I can hand it out to seniors who come to the Town Hall looking for resources. I called the publisher ( a local hospital) and was told they could only give me six copies. This hospital is under tremendous financial strain due to state budget cuts, so they don't have the funds to print more copies, forget about publishing an updated version. The one that's out there is already several years old. :(

Denise

Thank you so much for this tip, Goldie! I added a link to this post in our Resources section. :)

Hussy

<a href=\"http://www.caregiving.com/members/terri/\" rel=\"nofollow\"><a href=\"http://www.caregiving.com/members/terri/\" rel=\"nofollow\">@terri</a></a>, thank you for posting about this. Money for housing rehab generally comes from two places. One source is HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies. HUD awards funds to each state, which in turn is more or less free to distribute those funds to municipalities or counties in any way it sees fit. The reason I know this is because I work for a municipality and one of my responsibilities is to administer our Town's low-mod income rehabilitation program. The income guidelines are based on the number of persons living in the home. HUD sets these guidelines and they are strictly non-negotiable. HUD does not allow me to give those 62 or disabled more lenient income guidelines. In my state (CT), municipalities have the option of offering 0% deferred loans, loans with interest, or loans that are gradually forgiven over time. It is up to each town to determine what program policy it wishes to adopt. In my program we offer 0% deferred loans but offer program participants the option of repaying the loans over time if they so wish. I get this request from seniors who plan to leave their homes to their children and who do not want to burden them with an unpaid debt at the time of transfer. I should also add that in most CT municipalities, this type of program is not administered by a Housing Authority but rather by a Community Development department. I cannot speak for what other states do. \n\nThe other source of money for housing rehab comes from the USDA via their Rural Rehabilitation program. This program is for low income individuals aged 62 or older. This program offers a mixture of loans and grants, The USDA decides whether applicants qualify for a loan, grant, or both. I often send elderly applicants to my program to the USDA program because it usually does not have a waiting list, which my program invariably does. \n\nSo I would urge those in need of housing rehab to contact not only their local municipality (or county government as may be the case. In CT we do not have county government) as well as the local branch of the USDA. Local Housing Authorities and Community Developmen departments may or may not be aware of the USDA program so it often pays to do the research oneself.