Is there financial assistance for home repairs?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 01, 2016
Barbgall asked...

My husband has been ill for three years with a terrible frontal lobe disorder of the brain. He was diagnosed at the age of 58. Within three years he has become totally dependent of me for EVERYTHING! He is like a retarded child. We have a five year old daughter and I myself have been disabled since 1995. I have a home Jobst extremity pump I must use three to four times a day. Our home is in need of some serious repairs. My question is; are there any grants available for people like us? We still have $1000.00 a month 25 years remaining on our home. We do not have any savings, stocks, bonds etc.


Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for Caring.com.

There are government programs available to help limited income families repair their homes. The federal government offers loan programs and limited grants to low income people who want to buy, repair or rehab a home. These programs are known as HUD 203(k) and are available through FHA approved mortgage lenders. (HUD stands for the department of Housing and Urban Development.) The government insures the loan through the FHA (Federal Housing Authority, part of HUD). You can refinance your mortgage and include the cost of repairs in the new mortgage. There is a Streamlined 203(k) Limited Repair Program for homeowners who need up to $35,000 to repair or rehab their homes. To find out if you are eligible, contact a local FHA approved lender. You can find one at http://www.hud.gov/ll/code/llslcrit.cfm.

There are federal loan and grant programs for low income and very low income families who live in rural areas. One program is Section 502 which is limited to families whose income does not exceed 115% of the median income for their area, which can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HSF-Guar_Income_Limits.html. For very low income families, there is the Rural Repair and Rehab Loan and Grant program. The loans can be used to repair, improve and modernize a home. The borrowers must be able to demonstrate that they can repay the loan (as with all loans). For people who cannot afford to repay the loans, there are grants. To be eligible for a grant, the borrower must be age 62 or older. These grants can be used to remove health and safety hazards and make the home accessible for disabled residents. To find out more about the rural area programs, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.

At the state and local level, there are Community Based programs which are subsidized by the federal government. There are HOME grants for "participating jurisdictions". To find out if you live in a "PJ", contact your Community Planning Field Office Director, who can be found at http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/about/staff/fodirectors/. There are also Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs. These are administered by the state with funds direct from HUD or from the state's HOME program. To find out about these programs, go to http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/contacts/.