If your home has fallen into disrepair and you are unable to come up with the funds to repair it, a government grant may be available to assist you. While not common, there are some free government grants for home repair available to those who qualify.
Available Government Grants
While it's tempting to think that there are plenty of free grants available for anyone who applies, the reality is that grant money is fairly controlled and limited. There are programs you can apply to; each program has its own eligibility requirements and application. Check your eligibility carefully at each one before you take the time to apply.
Grants.gov was created in 2002 as a way to help increase the public's access to government services. More than 1,000 government grants and 500 billion dollars in annual grant money is available. Not all grants through this program are for home repairs, and loan availability changes frequently.
To use the system, search by keyword, such as "repairs", "housing" or "roof" to see what funds may be available. If you find a grant that matches your need, fill out the application for that specific grant. Once you've applied, track your application online using the registered user database to find out the status of the application and potential grant.
When you apply, make sure you have as much information about the repair as possible, including estimates, current income and, if applicable, what caused the problem to occur.
The United States Department of Agriculture offers a few different types of grants for those who qualify. These include:
- Housing Preservation Grants, which are designed to help low-income families make repairs they need to keep their homes in livable condition.
- Single Family Self-Help Grants, which are designed to help low-income families undertaking the work on their homes themselves.
In addition to grants granted directly by the federal government, the USDA also makes funds available directly to states and communities. You may be eligible for other types of grants based upon where you live. To find out what types of grants may be available in your area, or to file an application for existing grants, locate your state on the USDA map.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development also offers grants to a select group of applicants. Many of the grants are listed and available through Grants.gov, where HUD encourages you to apply.
In addition to grants available on Grants.gov, HUD also offers the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). CDBG is set up to award grant money directly to communities in need, as well as to low-income individuals. This may include communities that have been hit by devastating conditions, or those that are attempting to make widespread repairs that will help the entire community.
To find out if you, or your community, qualifies for grants and assistance, visit the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to ask questions and get more information about what services may be available in your area.
HUD also allows access to past high-scoring applications for grants; take the time to see what applications have won money in the past before applying to see what qualifications are rated highly.
The Department of Energy has grant money available to homeowners who hope to make repairs that will improve their home's energy usage. Money is available for the following:
- Replacing outdated appliances
- Home energy audits
- Recovery Act
- Renewable energy sources
The US Department of Energy does not grant money directly to individuals, rather it grants money to states, who in turn decide who is eligible. Most recipients will be low-income and will benefit from lower energy bills each month once repairs have been carried out. Contact the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program to get more information on how to apply through your state.
In addition to federal grant money, most states, towns and local communities have grant money available as well. To find out how much is available, and whether you qualify, pay a visit to your local town hall. From there, you can either apply directly for town money, or get the contact information of the relevant department of your state's government.
Some amount of eligibility is determined by the amount of grant money available, and upon the agency granting it. Some points that may increase your eligibility include:
- Living in a rural area
- Living in a historic home
- Have a sick, disabled or elderly person living in the home
- Having young children living in the home
- Have a low, or very low income
Amounts of Grant Money
When you hear about free money for home repairs, it can be tempting to start dreaming of fixing all the repairs needed and then using the leftover money to slap an extra coat of paint on the deck. The reality is, however, that you may only get a portion of the money needed to make the repair. The rest of the money needed is made up by the contractor or repairman.
Most local governments will have repairmen under contract who will undertake the work needed on your home. They'll charge you less than the repair is actually worth, because they are receiving a paycheck from the government which helps to make up the difference. So your $2,000 roof repair might only cost $500, which is the amount of grant money you may receive to take care of the problem.
When you apply for grant money, you will be given the names of at least three repairmen who will give an estimate on the cost of the repair. These repairmen can also undertake the job at a lower rate if required and will make sure that the government isn't giving more money to the problem than is needed.
Apply for a Grant Today
There is no limit on the number of grants you can apply for or receive. If you need government money to help you make home repairs, take the time to apply today. While time consuming, the application process may pay off in ways that can help you stay in your home.