Several government and private agencies provide home repair grants to low-income seniors. These grant programs help senior homeowners make necessary repairs and upgrades to their property. These programs typically require the applicant's income to be at or below the low-income limit level, or 80 percent of the area's median income.
USDA Home Repair Grant
The Department of Agriculture provides home repair grants to seniors who need to make health and safety repairs to their property. The senior must be age 62 years or older and have income at or below 50 percent of the area's median income to qualify for a home repair grant. The homeowner can receive up to $7,500 (as of 2011) to make repairs and or upgrades to the home. The home must be located in a USDA-designated rural area of the country. The grant does not have to be repaid as long as the senior does not sell the home within three years of receiving the money.
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Specially Adapted Housing Grant
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides Specially Adapted Housing grants to veterans with a service-related disability. Seniors that have served in the military are eligible to apply for a grant. The veteran can receive up to $63,780 (as of 2011) to make adaptations to an existing home, or purchase a home that will be specially adapted. The senior must have a disability that includes loss of use of both arms or legs, blindness in both eyes, or a severe burn injury. Appropriate adaptations include widening doorways for wheelchair access or installing grab bars around the home.
Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation provides grants to nonprofit agencies to help seniors make repairs to their homes. Nonprofits committed to helping the elderly can receive up to $5,000 as of 2011 to help seniors with repairs, modifications to the home and weatherization. Weatherization services make the home more energy efficient, which helps to lower utility bills. The homeowner must be low-income to qualify for help with home repair. The grant is provided in the form of Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials or services.
HUD's Reverse Mortgage Program
Seniors who do not qualify for low-income programs can apply for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Reverse Mortgage Program. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to take out a line of credit on the equity in her home. There is no repayment required on the loan unless the home is no longer the primary place of residence, or the senior no longer meets the obligations of the loan. You must be 62 years of age or older and own the home outright or have a very small balance on the mortgage to qualify for HUD's Reverse Mortgage. You do not have to meet minimum income requirements to obtain the home equity line of credit.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Loans and Grants
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: TVA Pamphlet 26-69-1: Questions on Specially Adapted Housing and Special Housing Adaptations (Online Version)
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Frequently Asked Questions about HUD's Reverse Mortgages