Aging in the comfort of one’s home long term is a goal for many Americans. And if you’re a senior citizen looking to fix up or make improvements to your home, you’re in luck: There are a number of programs designed to help older homeowners improve their primary residences, starting with home repair grants for seniors.
Are there home repair grants for seniors in 2024?
There are a variety of government programs that offer home repair grants to seniors. These grants are designed to help aging homeowners make home repairs, modifications, and upgrades, allowing them to create safe and comfortable living spaces where they can age in place.
That’s good news for the nearly eight out of 10 adults 50 and older who said they want to stay in their homes as they age, a recent AARP survey found, yet roughly a third of those individuals said their houses need modifications to be able to do so safely and independently.
What is a home repair grant?
Home repair grants for seniors are financial assistance programs that help older adults make repairs, renovations, and modifications to their homes. These grants are typically provided by government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private foundations, with the goal of ensuring seniors can continue to live independently in their homes.
Home repair assistance grants for seniors often cover a wide range of repairs and modifications that make homes safer and more functional, from fixing structural issues and addressing safety hazards to accessibility improvements to upgrading plumbing and electrical systems.
Types of home repair grants
Here is an overview of six major home repair grants, including eligibility requirements and the types of repairs covered by each program.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Single Family Housing Repair Grants
Also known as the Section 504 Home Repair program, this USDA repair grant program provides loans to elderly and low-income homeowners. The program is intended to support rural development. Homeowners age 62 or older can use the grant money to address health and safety hazards in their home, like a leaky roof or faulty electrical wiring. Borrowers will need to demonstrate their household income is less than the area median income. The maximum grant is $10,000, but your property must be located in an eligible rural area. And here’s an important piece of fine print: If you sell your home in less than three years, then repayment of the grant will be required. You can visit the USDA Income and Property Eligibility website for full eligibility requirements.
VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
This program, offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, offers grants for veterans and service members with certain service-connected disabilities to help them build, purchase, or remodel an adapted home that meets their physical needs. Such home repairs include installing ramps, widening doorways, or making other changes that help provide independent living. The maximum SAH grant is currently $109,986. (The amount can change from year to year.) Check out the VA’s website for complete eligibility requirements.
Housing Improvement Program (HIP)
Also known as the Housing Program (HP), the HIP helps members of federally recognized Indian tribes make select home repairs and improvements. The grants provide up to $60,000 in repairs and renovations to improve the condition of a homeowner’s dwelling to meet building code standards. To qualify, you must be a member of a federally recognized Tribe, live in a Tribal servicing area, and meet certain income limits. For full eligibility requirements, go to the Bureau of Indian Affairs website.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Grants
FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (HIP) provides home repair grants to victims of presidentially declared natural disasters, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or wildfire, who are uninsured or under-insured. To qualify, your property must be determined to be uninhabitable after a FEMA inspection. Learn more about the agency’s grant program on the FEMA website.
HOME Investment Partnerships Program
This grant program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), helps qualifying low-income people rehabilitate their homes. To qualify, the property’s post-rehabilitation value must not exceed 95 percent of the area’s median purchase price for a single-family home as determined by HUD. Learn more about the HOME Investment Partnerships Program on HUD’s website.
HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
This HUD program offers states, cities, and counties grants to help provide housing and cover home repair costs for low- and moderate-income people. Jurisdictions with a population of less than 200,000 and non-entitlement cities and towns of less than 50,000 residents can apply. Find out more about the CDBG program on HUD’s website.
Who is eligible for a home repair grant?
To qualify for any of the six grant programs outlined above, you must meet specific eligibility requirements. These criteria often consider age, income, the nature of repairs or modifications needed, and other factors.
Cash-out refinance: An alternative home repair option
Another way to foot the bill for home repairs is with a cash-out refinance. This entails refinancing your mortgage for more than what you owe and pocketing the difference in cash. Mortgage lenders generally let you borrow up to 80 percent of your home equity.
So, let’s say your home is worth $400,000, and you currently owe $300,000 on your mortgage. That gives you $100,000 in home equity, which means you can borrow $80,000 through a cash-out refinance.
Home repair grants for seniors FAQ
What is a home repair grant?
A home repair grant provides funds to eligible homeowners who need financial assistance to make certain home repairs and/or modifications. These grants are typically provided by government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private foundations, with some specifically aimed at seniors.
What can you do when your house is falling apart and you can’t afford to fix it?
If your home is in desperate need of repairs for safety reasons and you can’t afford to pay for them, a home repair grant can help you cover the costs. But make sure to read the grant program’s eligibility requirements and stipulations before applying.
Who is eligible for a government home improvement grant?
Eligibility requirements can vary by grant program and many grants set restrictions on the types of repairs that can be made. For example, a USDA Single Family Housing Repair grant can only be used to “remove health and safety hazards” in a home, like a leaky roof or faulty electrical wiring, according to the department’s website.
Are there alternatives to home repair grants?
If you’re a senior in need of funds to make home repairs, a home repair grant is just one of a number of options you can seek out. Alternatives include cash-out refinances, personal loans, home improvement loans, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
Which home repair grants are best for seniors?
The best loan program for each borrower will depend on the specifics of their financial situation, and the same is true for senior borrowers. To determine the best option for your specific circumstance, you’ll need to consider all your single-family housing repair loans and grant options.
The bottom line: Home repair grants for seniors
For seniors looking to improve their home and quality of life, there are a number of options to make upgrades and renovations, including a number of grant options that could put home upgrades within reach.