Whether from public or private institutions, grants are an excellent way to cover the costs of repairs or home improvements. They’re also too often ignored by homeowners. There are plenty of grant programs out there, many of them funded by the federal government. If your property needs improvement or repairs, you should check whether you’re eligible for any grants in your area. Here’s a look at some of the programs out there if you’re thinking, “I could use a grant to fix my house.”
Grants for Home Improvements and To Fix Structural Damage
There are three or four main federal grant programs for home improvements and addressing structural damage.
The first is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME Investment Partnerships Program. This program is geared towards low-income homeowners and covers a range of home improvements and repairs.
The second is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Specially Adapted Housing Grant. In case you are a veteran and have certain injuries or disabilities, you can get these grants to make your home more accessible.
The third is the HUD Community Development Block Grant, with funds distributed by local authorities, often in partnership with non-profit and charitable organizations. The grants available through this program, one of the main federal community development grant programs in the U.S., varies from area to area. You’ll find the best information at your local HUD or housing affairs office.
The fourth is the Single-Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants program (also known as the Section 504 Home Repair Program) run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the improvement of housing in rural areas. You can receive up to $7,500 to address health and safety hazards in your rural home.
Registered Native Americans living on tribal lands can apply for the Housing Improvement Program (HIP) run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This is a program with a wide remit to finance the repair and rehabilitation of homes owned by low-income Native Americans.
Grants to Repair Fire Damage
If your home has been damaged in a wildfire, the Federal Emergency Management Agency – better known as FEMA – runs an Individual and Housing Program that provides grants to homeowners to repair damages.
Grants to Clean Up Mold
A few grant programs are meant explicitly for mold removal and remediation, all with a relatively narrow focus. One is a FEMA-run grant program that helps fund the removal of disaster-related mold. The other is run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While private individuals cannot receive funds, they can participate as homeowners in studies that research and test mold-removal methods. Ask about the opportunity to participate in such programs at your nearest EPA office. Finally, the HIP for registered Native Americans living on tribal territories also provides for remediation of mold in recipient’s homes.
Grants to Fix Termite Damage
While there are no federal-level grant programs for termite damage repair, this does fit under the purpose of the USDA Section 504 Home Repair program. If you live in a rural area, you can look into this program as you can receive up to $7,500 as a grant and $20,000 as a low-interest loan, with it being possible to combine these two sources of funding. There may be local grant programs running if you live in an area where termite damage is common. To find out if there are, contact your local HUD office.
Grants to Fix Flood and Tornado Damage
You can receive assistance in grant form to repair flood and tornado damage from FEMA. The agency runs several programs – the Individual and Housing Program provides grant funds to homeowners directly. FEMA also offers local government-level programs such as the Flood Mitigation Program to flood-proof vulnerable areas. If you are located in an area prone to flooding, check in with your local housing administration office to find out if there are any active programs that can help you prevent future flood damage; if not, fix past damage.
Grant to Fix My House vs. Loan
When looking for a grant to fix your house, don’t write off loans before even considering them. The problem with many federally-funded grant programs is that they’re narrow in their focus, eligibility, availability, or all three. In many cases, low-interest, government-backed loans are the better option. For example, the Small Business Administration’s Home and Property Disaster loan program offers up to $200,000 for real estate repair after a disaster or up to $40,000 for personal property replacement. The loan has to be repaid, but its long term (up to 30 years) and low fixed interest rates make it an attractive option for those seeking financial assistance from the government to rebuild after a man-made or natural disaster.
HUD loans are also an option, with much larger sums available as loans compared to grants. This HUD page has more information about these loan programs. Good luck choosing a grant or loan that is right for your needs!