A grant is money that the government or a non-profit organisation gives that does not need to be repaid. Home improvement grants are given to help provide safe and secure living conditions for those who can't afford to make those critical repairs. To be eligible to receive these low income home improvement grants, applicants' incomes may not exceed 50 per cent of their local area's median family income. Those who are 62 years of age or older, those who are receiving disability payments, and households with young children often qualify for these grant programs. There may also be other eligibility requirements that will vary with each application.
If you are a very low income family living in a home that is in need of critical repairs, your local city government, state housing authority, non-profit organisations and some U.S. federal government agencies have grants that can help you if you can't qualify for a traditional home improvement loan due to an unsatisfactory credit rating. Home improvement grants can cover projects such as bringing your home up to safety and security standards in areas such as the roof, siding, plumbing, insulation, secure windows and doors, and electrical and plumbing systems.
The King County Housing Authority in Washington state has a Housing Repair and Weatherization Department whose mission is to help ensure that low income residents with children, senior citizens and people with disabilities can get their needed home repairs completed for free. The housing authority works with the resident to find out what repairs need to be made; they get bids from contractors, supervise the contracts and monitor compliance. The City Commission in Tallahassee, Florida has several Low Income Home Energy Programs that help low income residents make needed repairs to their homes. These grants cover emergency home repairs, code enforcement repairs, weatherization, home energy audits and energy retrofit grants to address critical energy saving concerns. The Maine State Housing Authority offers a Home Improvement & Repair Assistance program, energy assistance programs, weatherization, appliance replacement, home repair, lead hazard control, and pre-1976 Mobile Home Replacement program for low income residents.
The Housing and Urban Development website has resources to help you locate home improvement grants, but they do not offer grants directly. The HUD website will direct you to the Grants.gov website, which is your best resource when you are searching for information about any U.S. government grant program. Visit their blog and sign up for their newsletter so that you can receive current information about new grant opportunities. To find local grant opportunities, The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance website has a listing of all of the programs that the U.S. federal government provides to the states and the District of Columbia, other organisations and individuals. You can search this site for specific programs or agencies.
Begin with a search at Grants.gov. When you have found a grant opportunity that looks promising, note the Funding Opportunity Number and then register to set up your username and password. Then you can begin to apply for grants. Gather the information that the guidelines are requesting (often past tax returns, pay stubs or records of expenses) and keep that together in one place so that the process will be smooth and efficient. You will most likely also need cost estimates for the repairs that you are applying for funding to repair. The HUD website offers a free, downloadable booklet, The Desktop User Guide for Submitting Electronic Grant Applications, that will guide you through every step of the Grants.gov electronic grant application process.
You can find locate your local HUD office by using the database on their website. They may be able to provide assistance and they often host free workshops. You might also make contact with your city or state housing authority to get help with your search for a low income home repair grant, or to get help with the application process.