How do you pay for a roof with no money when you do not qualify for a loan or financing because of bad credit?
Looking into free roof replacement grants is one possible avenue to explore when you lack the resources to cover the costs. Several government programs designed for low-income families might provide needed financial help.
Apply for each benefit at a local organization that receives the federal money. Follow the links highlighted in the relevant section.
Senior citizens can find free roof repair services by following the same approach and adding three additional options: charities and churches, other government benefits, and the Section 504 program.
Free Roof Replacement Grants
Free grants can make your roof replacement project more affordable. However, given the relatively high average cost ($10,000) of a new lid for a single-family house, you may need to spend some of your money.
Home improvement loans with bad credit are more feasible when the total project cost is lower. A partial grant helps the lender say yes rather than no.
Finding government grants for roof replacement requires understanding how the money flows from federal agencies to state departments and ultimately qualifying low-income homeowners.
You must apply for services through a local organization in most cases.
State government grants for roof replacement and repairs are the logical starting point when applying for local services. Also, broadening your search to include your entire house makes it easier to find the appropriate resources.
For instance, free home repair for low-income families is readily identifiable in each state. The general-purpose federal money begins at the state level and trickles down to the county and city agencies that disperse the funding.
Federal government grants for roof replacement and repair do not flow directly to low-income homeowners, with one exception. Instead, local organizations receive the funding and disperse the money following precise guidelines.
Also, cheaper repairs are more feasible than expensive replacements.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the first government grant for roof replacement that better fits lower-cost repairs and other energy-saving measures.
- HVAC replacement equipment: furnace and air conditioning units
- Household appliances: refrigerators, washers, and dryers
- Energy-efficient windows replacement & repairs
WAP prioritizes projects using a Savings to Investment Ratio (SIR), often ranking Energy Conserving Measures (ECM) higher than Incidental Repair Measures (ICM).
- Identify your local WAP provider. Your state could have a single online application, while others will refer you to a list of participating organizations.
- Complete the application process by providing proof of income from the previous year and household size
- Prepare to have the local provider send a representative to your home to perform an energy audit to determine if you are eligible for free services
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is the second government grant for roof replacement that might fund minor repairs instead.
LIHEAP rules allow for replacing or repairing part of a roof, while total replacement becomes a construction project ineligible for services. 
Bear in mind the primary mission of LIHEAP is to manage home utility bills, while weatherization is a secondary objective. Therefore, you are more likely to find direct help with gas and electricity costs.
- Enter your state into the dropdown menu
- Select the county of your current resident
- Click on the yellow dot closest to your location
- Contact the energy services provider to see if you qualify
USDA housing preservation grants distributed money in the past to sponsoring organizations for the repair and rehabilitation of rural homes owned by low-income families.
Qualifying recipients could use the money to repair or replace a roof. However, the program is closed to new applicants.
Contact the USDA state office in your region to see if any funding remains.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers small federal grants for roof replacement and repairs, which often require assistance from a local certified public accountant to understand and enable.
Home improvements (not repairs) do not qualify as tax deductions, but they do count towards the cost-basis of your property, which minimizes your capital gains when selling your house in the future.
People taking the home office deduction can claim a percentage of roof replacement and repair expenses.
- Replacements are capital improvements, which you depreciate over many years
- Repairs count as expenses, which you can deduct fully in a single year
Therefore, keep all receipts from your roofing contractor and give them to your accountant when applicable for possible savings.
Private companies sometimes market free roof replacement grants as a means of luring in new customers and getting them to move ahead with a lucrative project.
For instance, private companies might advertise free roof replacement with solar panels, but homeowners should first understand how the marketing organization presents the numbers.
The solar marketing company might be illustrating the total cost of ownership rather than offering a sizable grant towards a new roof. For example, consider these elements that put extra money in your pocket.
- Residential solar energy tax credit
- Reduction in heating, cooling, and lighting costs
- Net metering: selling excess electricity back to the grid
In another example, private companies often promote free metal roof installation to facilitate an in-home meeting with the homeowner. Metal shingles are far more expensive than asphalt, wood, clay, or slate counterparts but can last much longer.
The zero-cost labor promotion gets a trained salesperson at your kitchen table during a time when both husband and wife can listen to a presentation – and make an investment decision that day!
In other words, be prepared for a hard close. The grant means never having to pay for another roof replacement in your lifetime, as metal shingles can last up to seventy years.
Consider learning how to get homeowners insurance to pay for a new roof as a possible self-help grant. You pay the premiums every month, so you owe it to yourself to see what you can get free – or at no additional cost.
After these typically covered incidents, homeowners insurance will likely pay for roof replacement or repair.
- Collapse from the weight of ice, sleet, or snow
- Damage from hail
- Lost shingles from high wind
- Fire and lightning strikes
- Falling trees and branches
Homeowner’s insurance will probably deny roof repair or replacement claims when caused by something excluded in most policies.
- Water damage from continuous seepage and leaks
- Loss from the installation of solar panels
- Wear and tear, rotting from older materials
- Earthquakes and earth movements such as landslides
- Termites, insects, rats, mice, birds, and other vermin
- Intentional acts
Free Roof Repair for Seniors
Combine the grant programs noted above with several other options that might result in free roof repair for senior citizens. Older people sometimes qualify for extra help from the government and charities.
The average cost of fixing shingles, flashing, underlayment, framing, and rafters is much lower than replacement ($10,000 versus $2,000). Therefore, it is more feasible for seniors to find assistance covering the entire project cost.
Charities that help with home repairs might be willing to help seniors fix their problematic roofs because nobody likes seeing an older person climbing ladders to fix broken shingles and awnings.
Charitable organizations and churches with repair ministries often target low-income seniors for outreach. After all, we all know elders and can easily sympathize with the struggles and isolation associated with aging.
Free government money for seniors over 50 can work as a roof repair grant of sorts. Sometimes, cutting other expenses can provide the resources needed to fix that persistent leak into your attic.
Older people frequently qualify for other benefits programs that might add to their monthly income or help them reduce spending for everyday items such as food, phones, tax preparation, legal services, and transportation.
Sometimes, indirect assistance offers the best solution to a problem.
USDA Section 504 grants of up to $10,000 could easily support free roof repair for seniors, provided the project remediates health and safety hazards. For instance, leaks causing black mold are a health hazard and should be eligible.
To qualify, the older adult must meet these criteria.
- Be the homeowner and occupy the residence
- Reside in an eligible rural area
- Unable to obtain a loan elsewhere (bad credit)
- Have a family income below 50% of the area median
- Unable to repay a restoration loan