New York Home Improvement & Repair: Free Grant Eligibility

As is often the case, government grant money does not flow directly to individuals.

Instead, federal agencies send funding to states, such as New York, which then augment and disperse the resources to specific programs, some of which offer home improvement and repair benefits.

Therefore, your job is to apply for benefits at the grant recipient locations and enjoy free repair and improvement services courtesy of other taxpayers. 

Follow along as we explain the various programs, describe who is eligible (low-income families, disabled individuals, senior citizens), and what specific projects qualify (roofing, HVAC equipment, windows, appliances, etc.).

NYS Home Repair Grants

Free federal government grants for home improvement and repairs are available in New York and nationwide. You must request benefits from a state agency, department, or designated third-party contractor.


The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the primary federal initiative offering home improvement grants to low-income families in New York State. WAP may provide free services that enhance energy efficiency or address health and safety hazards.

Apply for WAP at NYS Homes and Community Renewal. Families at or below 60% of the state median income (based on household size) may qualify. Renters and homeowners can participate.

The process has four steps, concluding with an inspection. Submit your application to a local service provider that determines eligibility, performs a home energy audit, and implements weatherization steps.

  • Sealing of cracks and holes to reduce heat loss
  • Insulation of attics and walls
  • Heating system repairs or replacement
  • Providing efficient lighting and refrigeration
  • Window and outside door repair or replacement
  • Mitigation of energy-related health and safety issues


The New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) receives grants. It offers free home improvement services and upgrades to furnaces, boilers, and air conditioning equipment. HEAP also lowers equipment operating costs, reducing oil, gas, and electricity bills.

Apply for HEAP benefits through your local district contact. You will find a listing organized by county, including the designated Department of Social Services office and alternate certifiers. HEAP offers help in several areas.

  • Regular benefits that pay directly for heat
  • Emergency help to avoid service shutoff
  • Heating equipment repair or replacement
  • Cleaning and tuning of existing equipment
  • Purchase and installation of air conditioning


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a grant recipient that offers qualifying low-income families free home improvement benefits that protect the environment.

Apply for NYSERDA energy-efficient upgrades by contacting an approved contractor in your area who will begin with a home energy audit after first checking your financials.

Three NYSERDA programs might help.

  1. Comfort Home Program: Incentives from $1,000 to $4,000 to seal and insulate your residence and retrofit windows to EnergyStar standards
  2. Clean Heating & Cooling Heat Pumps: Directs individuals to IRA-funded rebates for the installation of specific equipment
  3. EmPower+: up to $10,000 per project for low-income families and $5,000 for moderate-income households, covering 50% of costs


The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) represents the newest home improvement grant available to New York State residents. IRA includes rebates and tax credits for upgraded equipment that uses cleaner energy.

IRA Rebates

The IRA provides up to $14,000 in rebates for purchasing and installing specific equipment and related upgrades, consuming cleaner electricity instead of dirtier natural gas.

  • Heat pump HVAC systems ($8,000)
  • Upgraded circuit panels ($4,000)
  • Insulation, air sealing, and ventilation ($1,600)
  • Electric wiring improvements ($2,500)

IRA Tax Credits

The IRA established a non-refundable tax credit administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which can lower the cost of specific home improvements. A non-refundable credit reduces your income tax liability if you have one.

Claim the IRA-supported tax credit of up to $3,200 after making qualified energy-efficient improvements to your home.

  • $600
    • Central air conditioners
    • Natural gas, propane, or oil furnaces and hot water boilers
  • $2,000
    • Electric or natural gas heat pumps
    • Biomass stoves and hot water boilers


The US Department of Agriculture offers a $10,000 home improvement grant to seniors living in rural areas in New York State. In other words, older adults living in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island cannot get this free money.

Apply for Section 504 by completing Form RD 410-4. You can use the assistance to modernize your residence or remove health and safety hazards.

  • $40,000 Loan: Improve any aspect of your home
  • $10,000 Grant: Remove health and safety hazards only

To qualify, you must meet these criteria.

  • Reside in an eligible rural area (not metropolitan)
  • Be the homeowner and occupy the house
  • Be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere
  • Have a household income under the county limit
  • Unable to repay a repair loan


Many charities (non-profit organizations and churches) operate in New York State and help with home repairs as part of their mission or ministry. Many receive government grants to support their efforts, while donors provide the rest.

Charities that assist with home repairs in your area might fill gaps the government does not serve. For instance, they might fix crumbling foundations, uneven floors, leaky plumbing, and projects that do not improve energy efficiency.  

Home Improvement Eligibility

Who is eligible for government home improvement grants in New York State? Many correct answers exist, as each program has unique personal and project-level criteria.

  • Personal qualifiers: Social Security disability status, age, and household percentage of the Federal Poverty Level (household income and size)
  • Project criteria: health and safety remediation or energy Savings to Investment Ratio (SIR)

Low Income

Low-income families frequently qualify for government home improvement grants in New York State when they live below a specified percentage of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Free home repair for low-income families hinges on FPL, which has two components. The rules can be tricky to follow, and you do not want to disqualify yourself by making avoidable errors.

  • Avoid overstating income: report your projected (not past) Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), which excludes child support, some alimony payments, and other sources.
  • Avoid understating household size: count the tax filer, spouse, and dependent children (including any unborn children if the mom is pregnant) based on how you plan to file next year.

Senior Citizens

Senior citizens in New York State are often eligible for government home improvement grants because their fixed retirement benefits place them in the low-income category, and several programs serve those over 60.

Free Repairs

Free home repair for senior citizens comes from various sources rather than one agency or program. Older adults have numerous opportunities to find assistance from charitable organizations, churches, Medicare Advantage Plans, and more.

Plus, the many government benefits available to seniors can free up money for needed repairs or directly cover the costs of energy-saving HVAC systems, appliances, water heaters, windows, doors, etc. 

Restore Program

The New York State RESTORE program provides financial resources to assist senior citizen homeowners aged sixty and over with the cost of addressing emergencies and code violations that threaten their health and safety or affect the livability of their homes.

Eligible participants meet three criteria.

  1. Own and occupy the residential unit
  2. Age 60 or older
  3. Household income below 100% of the area median

Disabled Individuals

New York residents with disabilities frequently qualify for government home improvement grants because the meager monthly benefit means they meet the low-income criteria for many programs.

Free home repair for people with disabilities comes primarily through government programs using a percentage of FPL as the first test. However, they still must show a positive Savings-to-Investment Ratio (SIR) on any proposed project. 

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients paid FICA taxes while working and often meet the income test because of the small average monthly benefit.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients automatically meet the low-income criteria for many government programs as they have few countable resources and smaller monthly benefits.

NYS Home Repair Projects

Qualifying residents might also want to know which projects are eligible for free home improvement grants in New York State. Specific repairs align better with government priorities than others.

  • Protect the environment
    • Reduce energy use
    • Migrate from oil and gas to electricity
  • Remove health and safety hazards

Roof Repair

Low-income New York State residents can sometimes utilize free home improvement grants to repair or replace roofing structures: shingles, flashing, underlayment, framing, and rafters.

Free roof replacement grants are more challenging to find because of the expense of the project and the lack of measurable energy-efficiency gains.

However, leaky roofs can cause water damage, leading to dangerous mold, a health and safety hazard, especially for people with asthma and seniors needing oxygen to breathe.

HVAC Replacement

NYS residents often qualify for home repair grants to replace aging and energy-inefficient heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

Free government air conditioner programs for low-income people are popular during the hot summer. In the same way, furnace replacement becomes a priority during the winter heating season.

Explore the many government HVAC benefits before the need becomes acute.

  • WAP replaces outdated HVAC equipment as its primary mission
  • HEAP helps upgrade inefficient HVAC systems; sometimes
  • IRA rebates ($14,000) and tax credits ($3,200) lower HVAC costs – especially when converting from gas to electric models

Window Replacement

Low-income residents in New York State sometimes qualify for free home repair grants to replace windows and doors with energy-efficient upgrades. In these instances, residents must access several programs offering assistance.

Federal window replacement programs generate meaningful assistance when you combine funding from three government benefits available nationwide.

  • WAP sometimes pays for windows through building shell measures
  • LIHEAP might replace drafty windows, allowing heat to escape
  • Home Improvement Tax Credit ($600) applies to energy-efficient windows

The NYS Home Comfort program (see above) provides up to $4,000 for replacement windows meeting EnergyStar standards.

Appliance Replacement

New York State residents with low incomes often qualify for home repair grants to replace aging and inefficient appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, and dishwashers.

Free refrigerator programs are easiest to find because this appliance runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In other words, it consumes more electricity because it is always on. In contrast, stoves, washers, dryers, and dishwashers are usually idle.

The federal government prioritizes energy savings, explaining why refrigerators are first on the list. Electric stoves replacing gas models is another primary concern.