Where can I find grants for home improvements and repairs?
The short answer is that you probably can’t.
There was a time when grants to make home repairs were a relatively common thing, usually provided by the federal government and distributed by local governments and nonprofit organizations. These days, grants for home improvements are a bit like a mythical creature – you may have heard they exist, but you will probably look for a long time without ever finding one.
For various reasons related to funding sources, nonprofit organizations (like ours) now offer these funds in some form of a loan. This shift has the positive effect of making more money available in the community for home repairs, because instead of spending the money just one time, it can be lent out again and again as homeowners make payments and pay off the loans. The loans are offered at lower interest rates that cover the expenses involved in making the programs available.
If your home needs repairs and you can’t afford to make payments, there are still some options available:
1. Volunteer labor programs
Some organizations organize teams of volunteers to help make repairs to homes. These programs are often limited to exterior repairs like painting or building ramps, and may have age or income restrictions for recipients.
- Hearts and Hammers – Hearts & Hammers is a nonprofit organization that provides exterior painting and home improvement assistance for Senior Citizens, Disabled Individuals and Veterans of the United States Armed Forces or their surviving spouse. Repairs are provided free of cost.
- Habitat for Humanity A Brush With Kindness – ABWK uses volunteer and paid labor to provide home repairs, tree trimming, mechanical updates, and accessibility updates. Homeowners share in the cost, with low payments or a forgivable loan. Applications are usually accepted once a year, in spring.
- Rebuilding Together Twin Cities – Rebuilding Together provides home repair services and safety updates to help homeowners age in place, at no cost to homeowners. At least one household members must be age 55 or older, or be living with a disability.
2. Specialized repairs
Some local governments have funds to address particular needs, such as lead paint or other environmental hazards. These are often a subsidy program and may require homeowners to pay for a portion of the repairs. You can contact your city or county government to find out what programs may be available. In Ramsey County, NeighborWorks is a partner in administering their lead remediation program.
3. Affordable low-interest loans
NeighborWorks Home Partners’ home improvement program has a variety of loan options that are meant to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income homeowners. These programs typically have below-market interest rates and more flexible terms and underwriting compared to loans from banks.
In some cases, there are no monthly payments required and no interest, and the loan is instead paid back when the homeowner sells their home. These are often referred to as due-on-sale loans.
The types of loans available will depend on where the home is located and the income of the homeowner.
Some state and local governments also provide their own loan programs. Check with your city to find out what they may offer.
Find Home Improvement Financing
NeighborWorks Home Partners has affordable home improvement financing for homeowners in Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and throughout the Twin Cities. Contact us to find out what you may qualify for.
NeighborWorks Home Partners is a full-service homeownership center that helps people become homeowners with first-time homebuyer counseling, homebuyer education, down payment assistance, foreclosure prevention help, and home improvement financing. We also rehabilitate vacant homes and develop vacant lots.