Free Home Repair Assistance Programs [Grants & Charities]

Most home repair assistance programs come packaged as a loan: money you must repay over time with interest. That is not free.

Fortunately, you have three strategies if your house is falling apart and you cannot afford to fix it.

First, many charities, churches, and ministries offer help with home repairs to senior citizens, disabled individuals, and other vulnerable groups.

Second, the government offers free home repair grants, but you have to apply for each program separately and utilize creative labels to find them.

Finally, low-income families qualify most frequently for these free home repair programs, while seniors and people with disabilities have additional opportunities unique to their situations.

Charities That Help with Home Repairs

Many charities provide help with home repairs as part of the services offered to target groups, such as low-income families. 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
  • Local community need often outstrip the capacity of volunteers
  • Restoration work may be one of the many services they provide

National Charities

Low-income families can turn to national charities that help with home repairs nationwide, as they often have more resources and volunteers located close to where you live.

Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together is a national charity that helps with home repair focusing 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 people in need across the country. Look for a local outlet in your area.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanities is a nationwide 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.

Home Depot

The Home Depot Foundation works to better the homes and lives of US veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap, and support communities impacted by natural disasters.

The charitable 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 US using the power of volunteers to improve the community.

Regional Charities

Low-income families should also research regional charities that help with home repairs to find a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with volunteers near where they live.

Ohio

Home Repair Resource Center – Cleveland Heights

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation – Youngstown

Texas

Texas Ramp Project: Statewide

Washington

Homage – Linwood

Wisconsin

Revitalize Milwaukee

Church Ministries That Help With Home Repairs

Many churches support home repair ministries to reach vulnerable families in their local area and qualify as 501(c) (3) charitable organizations.

Jesus was a carpenter and taught to love others through sacrificial service.

National Ministries

Several church-sponsored home repair ministries reach people across the country through charitable service to demonstrate the love of Jesus. Search for local offices or mission trips in your neighborhood.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities faithfully serve people in need through the collective effort of the church ministry. 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.

Samaritans Purse

Samaritans Purse is a faith-based ministry 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.

Mission Trips

Several church-based ministries help with home repairs across the country and internationally by organizing mission trips for youth and adults.

Contact one of these groups about your needs. They may have a mission trip already scheduled in your area or could make one happen on your behalf.

Regional Churches

Most church-based home repair ministries serve their communities with charitable service exclusively in their community (city or county). Below is a sampling organized by state.

Alabama

Ecumenical Ministries – Baldwin County

Colorado

New Hope Presbyterian Church – Castle Rock

Florida

First Baptist Church – Pensacola

Heart Felt Ministries – Jacksonville

Georgia

Home Repair Ministries – Norcross

Kentucky

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

Michigan

Solid Rock Ministries – Holland & Zeeland

Mississippi

Cary Christian Center – Cary

Voice of Calvary Ministries – Jackson

New York

Snowbelt Housing Company – Lowville

North Carolina

Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry

Holland’s United Methodist Church – Raleigh

Partners in Ministry – East Laurinburg

Ohio

The Urban Mission – Steubenville

Pennsylvania

Cornerstone Ministries – Murrysville

Handyman Ministries – Gordonville

Good Neighbors, Inc. – Kennett Square

South Carolina

Sumter United Ministries – Sumter County

Tennessee

Appalachian Outreach – East Tennessee

Centreville United Methodist Church – Sneedville

Saint Luke’s United Methodist Church – Memphis

Service Over Self – Memphis

Mountain TOP – Coalmont

Texas

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

Virginia

Love Inc. – Charlottesville & Albemarle County

Tree of Life – Lynchburg

Government Home Repair Grants

The federal government provides free home repair grants for low-income families indirectly. Because you do not have to repay the money, expect lots of competition and strict qualifying criteria.

The money flows to states and regional agencies – not individuals. Therefore, you must identify the local recipient that disperses the funding following program parameters.

Energy Grants

The US Department of Energy (DOE) provides free home repair grants for low-income families through its Weatherization Assistance Program. Approved projects increase the energy efficiency of your residence and could include any of the following.

Search for Weatherization Assistance Program administrators in your state or county and apply for help with the designated organization. 

Rural Grants

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides two different free home repair grants to low-income families living in rural areas (population less than 20,000).

Start the application process at your USDA state office.

Section 504

The USDA Section 504 program provides home repair grants for citizens living in designated rural areas. To qualify, you must meet these criteria.

  • Be the homeowner and occupy the house
  • Be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere
  • Have a household income under the very low county limit
  • Be age 62 or older and not be able to repay a repair loan

Housing Preservation

The USDA Housing Preservation Grant provides free money to sponsoring organizations to repair or rehabilitate homes owned or occupied by very-low-income rural citizens.

Eligible expenses include repairing or replacing electrical wiring, foundations, roofs, insulation, heating equipment, water disposal systems, and handicap accessibility features

Urban Grants

The US Department of Housing and Development (HUD) provides numerous free home repair grants to sponsoring organizations that disperse the funds to support low-income families living in their service areas.

Apply for this assistance by looking for grantees serving your local area. For example, many of these urban centers have readily identifiable charitable organizations or city agencies that could be recipients of HUD money.

Metropolitan AreaResource Name
New York CityThe Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Los AngelesHandyworker Program
ChicagoRoof and Porch Lottery
Illinois Housing Development Authority
HoustonHarris County Community Services Department 
City of Houston Housing and Community Development
PhoenixNeighborhood Services Department
Maricopa County Human Services
PhiladelphiaBasic Systems Repair Program
San AntonioNeighborhood & Housing Services
San DiegoHousing & Community Development Services
DallasHousing and Neighborhood Revitalization  
San JoseCity of San Jose Housing Department

Tax Grants

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers four possible free home repair grants that people of all income levels can utilize. The higher your earnings, the more significant the savings due to our progressive tax code. However, there is one catch.

The grants work for home improvements that increase property values or utility rather than for projects that fix something broken. You might be able to deduct four types of expenses.

  1. Renewable energy upgrades such as geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, solar energy systems, fuel cells, and biomass fuel stoves
  2. Medically necessary adaptations such as ramps, lifts, doorway alterations, and modifications to enhance mobility
  3. Projects that increase the resale price of your property count toward the cost basis, reducing the capital gains taxes owed
  4. Home office modifications qualify for self-employed individuals who run their business from a dedicated room

Free Home Repair for Low-Income Families

Low-income families can find free home repair services by applying for every conceivable assistance program available through charities, churches, ministries, and the government.

Plus, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities can surface additional resources through nuances unique to their demographic.

Senior Citizens

There are many programs to help senior citizens with home repairs when you open your mind to all the possibilities. Elderly adults often have low incomes during their retirement years, making them eligible for assistance from charities, ministries, and government grants.

Plus, senior citizens have at least three other ways to get free home repair services.

Free Money

Free government money for seniors over 50 can work as a substitutionary home repair assistance program. Sometimes, indirect avenues can provide the resources needed to fix leaky plumbing, faulty wiring, cracked driveways, or crumbling foundations.

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, transportation, and more.

Safety Hazards

USDA Section 504 grants of up to $10,000 could easily support free home repair for seniors, provided the project remediates health and safety hazards.

For instance, elderly adults are at a high risk of falling and breaking bones. Therefore any modifications that reduce your chances of tripping or slipping would qualify.

  • Install walk-in bathtubs
  • Resolve uneven flooring
  • Replace non-working lighting
  • Eliminate power cords

In another example, seniors often have difficulty breathing and require supplemental oxygen. Therefore, repairs for air conditioning and ventilation systems would also be eligible.

Medicare Premiums

IRS tax grants for unreimbursed medical expenses can also work as an off-label free home repair program for senior citizens. Elderly adults pay Medicare premiums during their retirement years, boosting possible refunds.

Seniors can include Medicare premiums as a deductible medical and dental expense because they cannot use pre-tax payroll contributions. Savings begin after eligible costs exceed 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income.

The premiums make the threshold easier to meet when deducting expenses for medically necessary adaptations recommended by a doctor.

Disabled Individuals

Disabled people can also find free home repair by applying for every conceivable program. Individuals with disabilities often have low incomes because they cannot work full time, making them eligible for assistance from charities, ministries, churches, and government grants.

Plus, individuals with disabilities have at least two other opportunities worth exploring.

Loans

Personal loans for people on disability benefits can help with a home repair project and turn into a free grant should you encounter financial difficulties. While you can only borrow tiny sums, lenders face restrictions should you default in the future.

  • Lenders cannot garnish Social Security disability checks
  • You cannot lose your home through foreclosure because the loan is unsecured

Insurance

Private health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare will sometimes offer financial help for disabled individuals with medically necessary home repairs that support health and mobility.

For instance, a disabled person might get free money from one of these insurance programs if their doctor-prescribed wheelchair ramp or grab bars needed fixing.  

Submit the letter of medical necessity to the insurance company for preapproval.