Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Rachel
With age comes new challenges that can be difficult to navigate. One of them is maintaining your home. Home repairs and renovations can cost an arm and a leg, especially for seniors with no income. These expenses can be difficult to cover on their own.
The good news is there are several financial assistance options available to seniors to help cover the costs of home repairs. This article covers the financial assistance options available to you for home repairs.
State’s Department of Aging
If you’re looking for help with financing home repairs, you can visit your state’s Department of Aging. You can find a lot of resources there that can be of much assistance to you. Your local Area Agency on Aging can help you settle expenses from replacing roofs, fixing broken or old windows, and repairing damaged floors.
Go online to find your Area Agency on Aging for more information and further assistance.
Older Adults Home Modification Program (OAHMP)
This is a federal government program under the US Housing and Urban Development. The program funds non-profit organizations and local government entities that provide house repair services to seniors who cannot afford them. This program makes it possible for seniors to stay in their homes for as long as possible.
Eligibility to this program depends on the organizations taking part in home repair programs.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
The main purpose of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is to increase the energy efficiency of homes owned or occupied by low-income individuals reducing energy expenditure and improving health and safety, especially for the undeserving.
WAP provides grants to local organizations, non-profit groups, and private contractors that implement home renovations to make houses more energy efficient and weatherized. This reduces heating and cooling bills making utility bills more affordable.
HUD Title 1 Property Improvement Loan
The HUD Title 1 Property Improvement Loan is offered by private lenders who are insured by US Housing and Urban Development. These loans are designed for homeowners with minimal to zero equity in their homes. The loans are FHA-insured and can be used to make your home more livable. So whether you use them on renovations, to buy home appliances or items, as long as it’s for your home, it’s okay.
To be eligible for this loan, you must:
- Use the money for home improvements and nothing else
- Be the homeowner or have a long-term lease
- Be living in a home that has been built or occupied for at least 90 days
- Have a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or lower
You can check your local HUD loan providers here.
Home Equity Loan
If you need a huge sum of money for major home renovations, you can apply for a home equity loan. With this type of loan, homeowners can borrow cash and use homes as collateral.
You can choose a lump sum home equity loan to be repaid over time, usually with a fixed interest rate. Only take a home equity loan if you have an investment that guarantees cash flow, so you can make payments on your loan. This is because failure to pay back the loan may lead you to lose your house.
Home Improvement Loans and Grants
The main difference between a loan and a grant is, for a loan you will have to pay it back after some time. For a grant, on the other hand, you don’t have to pay it back.
Grants are more desirable because essentially they are free money. Local governments and charitable organizations set up eligibility criteria for individuals trying to acquire home repair grants. These grants are not as common and it is not easy getting them because of the qualification requirements.
The government, banks, and other financial institutions offer home improvement loans to be used to cover the cost of repairs or renovations. The terms and interest rates of home improvement loans vary depending on the lender, so seniors need to shop around and compare different options before choosing a loan. Government loans are the best option for seniors because they offer a lower interest rate and longer periods of payment.
Energy Assistance Programs
In addition to WAP, there are other energy assistance programs low-income seniors can take advantage of to help pay for their energy bills, which can be a significant expense in the winter months. These include:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program can help you pay cooling and heating energy bills and energy-related home repairs. They also take care of energy emergency crises and low-cost home improvements like weatherization. Find your LIHEAP local provider here for further information and assistance.
State-Run Home Energy Assistance Programs
These are programs unique to your state of residency. These programs help pay for energy bills and cover cheap home repairs that will make your home more efficient. For example, the citizens of Minnesota have an energy assistance program that helps them settle energy and water bills. Eligibility for these programs depends on household size and income.
Charity organizations offer home repair assistance as part of their humanitarian services. These organizations are typically funded by donations and grants and can provide financial assistance or volunteer labor to help seniors make necessary repairs to their homes. Some nonprofit organizations also offer free home repairs to seniors who cannot afford to pay for them. One of these organizations popular for assisting with home improvement is Rebuilding Together.
Rebuilding together helps seniors and the underprivileged who are not capable of paying for home improvement to do home repairs. Its mission is to repair homes, revitalize communities and rebuild homes. Some of the programs offered are Building a Healthy Neighborhood, Disaster Readiness, and Recovery, Safe at Home and She Builds.
Other charity organizations that help with home improvements include Home Repair Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, Operation Homefront, Women Under Construction Network, and Home Seniors.
Section 504 Home Repair Program
The Single-Family Housing Repair Grants or Section 504 program offers financial assistance for low-income earners to help repair homes to remove safety and health hazards. The program can offer up to $7,500 to each qualified individual.
- Be the homeowner and occupant of the house
- Your household income should be below your county’s very low limit
- Unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere
- For grants, be a senior above 62 that can’t afford home repair expenses
What Do You Get from the Program?
- Loans of up to $40,000
- Grants of up to $10,000
- A grant and loan combination for up to $50,000
In conclusion, there are several financial assistance options available to seniors in the USA to help cover the costs of house repairs. Their main goal is to ensure you are living in a comfortable environment and staying in your home for as long as possible.