Your first inclination may be to approach a lender when you need to make home improvements. Instead of diving even deeper into a debt hole, consider other alternatives first. The federal government has grant programs in place that may qualify you for assistance. Determine whether you meet the qualifications of a grant and then apply for a U.S. federal home repair grant to help you work on your home.
Read the grant guidelines and requirements to see whether you meet the qualifications. Generally, income and age will be part of the requirement, as well as property location requirements to determine eligibility. For example, to receive a rural repair and rehabilitation grant, homeowners must be at least 62 years old and unable to repay a federal Section 504 loan. For an individual water and wastewater grant, recipients must own the house, meet income guidelines and not owe any federal debts.
Learn the terms of the grant before applying. The grant terms will state the top dollar amount awarded as well as other terms. For example, with a rural repair and rehabilitation grant, if you sell your house within three years of receiving the grant, you will have to repay the grant. You may also only use the grant funds to purchase health and safety repairs and improvements. For an individual water and wastewater grant, you may pay to install plumbing fixtures or pay for utility hook-up in Arizona, California, Texas or New Mexico. All work you pay for with the grant must meet local standards and codes.
Contact your local Rural Development office to apply for a grant. Call (800) 670-6553 for local contact information. Alternatively, visit the Rural Development website and click your state and then county on the interactive maps to view contact information for the local office that serves your area. Call the telephone number or send an email to a listed email address. Request grant information and forms for the home repairs you need to complete.
Complete the forms with your personal information, property information and income information. Ensure that all information is accurate and that you fill out the form completely. Submit the form by mail or in person at your local office.
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images