What can you do if your house is falling apart and you cannot afford to fix it because you lack savings and do not qualify for a loan?
You might be able to find assistance to fix up your residence by looking for resources from three different angles.
First, many charities help with home repairs as part of their overall mission and provide free servant labor while you might have to fund the material costs.
Second, the government offers grants for home improvement that often fit seniors, veterans, low-income families, and the disabled. Finally, overlooked resources can help with roof repair, HVAC replacement, and water damage restoration.
Charities That Help with Home Repairs
Many charities provide help with home repairs as part of the services offered to target groups. However, it pays to keep several things in mind when dealing with non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations.
- Funding is often sparse as they rely on the generosity of donors
- Needs from the local community often outstrip their limited resources
- Restoration work may be one of the many services they provide
- Charities That Help with Home Repairs
- Free Government Home Repair Assistance for Low Income
- Other Ways to Fix Your House Free
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanities is a charity that often assists with home repair. While their primary mission is to build affordable housing for low-income families, they often face gaps in suitable jobs for their army of servant tradespeople.
Renovation work is often a more cost-effective way for Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help people in their local communities. Contact your local affiliate to express your need for restoration work.
Rebuilding Together is another charity that helps with home repair with a focus on community revitalization. Corporate and community partners combine to refurbish dwellings and rebuild lives.
The affiliate network of Rebuilding Together completes close to 10,000 renovation projects each year. They have non-profit affiliates who serve the needs of people in need across the country. Look for a local outlet in your area.
Several faith-based charities help with home repairs across the country and internationally by organizing mission trips for youth and adults.
Jesus was a carpenter and taught to love others through service.
Contact one the these 501(c)(3) organization about your need. They may have a mission trip already scheduled in your area or could make one happen on your behalf.
Samaritans Purse is a faith-based charity that sometimes assists with home repairs after natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, etc.
For example, Samaritans Purse recently sent a team to Galena, Alaska, to rebuild houses swept off their foundations by floodwaters.
Catholic Charities faithfully serves people in need through the collective effort of the church. Their affordable housing programs provide emergency shelters & long-term assistance to vulnerable populations.
The non-profit organization has a network of offices throughout the country, and some occasionally support home repair efforts to keep people off the streets. Contact your local office for help.
The Home Depot Foundation works to better the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap, and support communities impacted by natural disasters.
The Foundation also offers grant awards up to $5,000 to 501(c)(3) designated organizations recognized and in good standing with the IRS for a minimum of one year and tax-exempt public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the community.
Most often, finding neighborhood charities that help with minor home repairs is your best bet because a local church or volunteer organization can mobilize the servants and supplies more efficiently.
Begin with this list of non-profits and perform a local online search.
Ecumenical Ministries – Baldwin County
Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona – Tucson and Pima County
Foundation for Senior Living – Phoenix
New Hope Presbyterian Church – Castle Rock
First Baptist Church – Pensacola
Heart Felt Ministries – Jacksonville
Home Repair Ministries – Norcross
Big Creek Missions – Bear Branch
Cedaridge Ministries – Williamsburg
Hope House – Bowling Green
United Methodist Parish – Cumberland County
Hand in Hand Ministries – Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, and Martin counties
Home Repair Services of Kent County – Grand Rapids
Solid Rock Ministries – Holland & Zeeland
Cary Christian Center – Cary
Voice of Calvary Ministries – Jackson
Church of the Assumption – Fairport
Snowbelt Housing Company – Lowville
Holland’s United Methodist Church – Raleigh
Partners in Ministry – East Laurinburg
Home Repair Resource Center – Cleveland Heights
The Urban Mission – Steubenville
Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation – Youngstown
Cornerstone Ministries – Murrysville
Handyman Ministries – Gordonville
Good Neighbors, Inc. – Kennett Square
Sumter United Ministries – Sumter County
Appalachian Outreach – East Tennessee
Centreville United Methodist Church – Sneedville
Saint Luke’s United Methodist Church – Memphis
Service Over Self – Memphis
Mountain T.O.P. – Coalmont
Northwest Assistance Ministries – Houston
The Network of Community Ministries – Dallas, Garland, Richardson
First United Methodist Church – Burleson
BluePrint Ministries – San Antonio
Texas Ramp Project: Statewide
Love Inc. – Charlottesville & Albemarle County
Tree of Life – Lynchburg
Homage – Linwood
Free Government Home Repair Assistance for Low Income
The federal government also provides free home improvement grants to help low-income families living in rural and urban areas. Disadvantaged groups such as senior citizens, veterans, and disabled individuals can tap into these programs, plus extra resources explicitly tailored.
However, the qualifications are rigorous, and you often need to identify an endpoint agency or non-profit organization because grant money rarely flows directly to individuals.
Free government-based home repair assistance for low-income families living in urban areas is easier to highlight because most major cities have an agency tasked with distributing grant money.
In other words, the endpoints are more evident because they are bigger and more centralized. Below are examples from the top metropolitan areas where government funding sometimes flows to charities (see above) or directly to households through a county or city agency.
|New York City||The Center for NYC Neighborhoods|
|Los Angeles||Handyworker Program|
|Chicago||Roof and Porch Lottery|
Illinois Housing Development Authority
|Houston||Harris County Community Services Department City of Houston Housing and Community Development|
|Phoenix||Neighborhood Services Department |
Maricopa County Human Services
|Philadelphia||Basic Systems Repair Program|
|San Antonio||Neighborhood & Housing Services|
|San Diego||Housing & Community Development Services|
|Dallas||Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization|
|San Jose||City of San Jose Housing Department|
The federal government provides free home repair assistance to low-income families living in rural areas of the country. However, the grant money does not flow directly to individuals, so you might have to identify a county agency.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Housing Preservation program provides government grants to sponsoring organizations that fund housing repair and rehabilitation for residents located in rural areas who live in poverty.
Follow the money from the USDA to local agencies in your county. Apply for services at these endpoints for the best chance of success.
Low-income disabled individuals often qualify for free home repair assistance from the government. You can find these resources listed in the rural and urban sections covered above.
In addition, other programs can provide limited help with certain modifications. Disabled people might want to research these overlooked resources.
- Social Security Disability Insurance claims can fund loan payments – but borrow money for critical emergency needs only
- Health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, and Private plans) sometimes cover medically necessary alterations that keep you from an expensive hospital stay
- Costs incurred to implement accessibility modifications in your dwelling are an eligible medical deduction on your Federal Income Tax
The government provides free home repair assistance directly to low-income seniors via the USDA Section 504 program. Elderly individuals over 62 who cannot afford to pay back a loan may qualify for this grant to repair their primary dwelling.
The USDA Section 504 maximum lifetime award is $7,500. Senior citizens could be eligible if they meet these criteria.
- Be the owner and occupy the house
- 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
Senior housing renovators must use the money to remediate health and safety hazards. These perils increase the risk of respiratory problems or infections and accidents such as falls, electric shocks, and more.
Free government-sponsored home repair assistance for low-income veterans is readily available. Former members of the armed forces who served our country bravely deserve our respect – and an occasional helping hand from taxpayers and other grateful citizens.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers three different housing aid programs to help personnel with service-connected disabilities. The funding helps make needed changes to their living environment, such as ramps, walkways, handrails, grab bars, sliding doors, and other modifications.
- Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant helps recipients live independently in a barrier-free environment
- Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant helps recipients with specific service-connected disabilities adapt or purchase a residence to accommodate the impairment
- Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant helps recipients modify a house owned by a family member
Other Ways to Fix Your House Free
Sometimes, you can find other ways to fix your house free by focusing on one specific area of your property instead of broader searches such as your roof, plumbing, and HVAC systems.
These narrowly defined programs often surface helpful resources you might overlook otherwise.
Free HVAC system replacement might prove more beneficial than assistance to repair an old water heater, furnace, or air conditioner. Why settle for temporary fixes to aging equipment when you can get a brand new system courtesy of the government?
Three agencies run programs that could combine to help low-income homeowners to upgrade to high-efficiency HVAC equipment with zero out-of-pocket costs.
- Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Energy Star (ES)
Free roof repair is available to seniors and many others through at least two alternatives not covered already. Be sure to tap into these resources if you are looking for ways to pay for a roof with no money.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), run by the Department of Energy, reduces energy costs for low-income households by improving gas and electric efficiency.
A leaky roof may also allow drafts that waste electricity in the summer and gas in the winter months. WAP-sponsored technicians often provide minor roof repairs before installing attic insulation.
Filing a claim with your homeowner insurance policy can easily result in free roof repair if you can show that the damage occurred suddenly instead of gradually over time. Some of these examples frequently lead to honored claims.
- Shingles torn off by strong winds
- Tree limbs damage rafters
- Fire burns wooden beams
Free water damage restoration for walls, ceilings, hardwood flooring, and carpeting is also available via claims to your homeowner’s insurance policy. As before, gradual plumbing leaks that cause black mold will not do the trick.
However, sudden flooding from inside your house (not weather-related) could mean that licensed contractors might fix various elements at no cost to you – after the deductible.
- Toilet overflows leaking water into ceilings and walls
- Burst pipes gush water onto floors and soak into cabinets, walls, etc.
Also, homeowners with a sump pump rider on their policy might get assistance with basement remediation needs should groundwater flood your cellar.