The federal government does not offer grants directly to individuals for home improvement or repair projects. The same holds for Texas state, county, or city-level agencies.
Yet, many low-income families, seniors, and veterans are eligible for financial help to fix their homes when they apply for benefits through the grant recipients: local agencies and sub-recipients.
In other words, follow the free money trail!
Sometimes, you surface more opportunities by attacking a problem from multiple angles, so we provide you with three pathways: federal programs, local organizations, and specific projects.
Federal Home Improvement Grants in Texas
The federal government spells out the parameters for who is eligible for most home improvement and repair grants in Texas. However, it is worth repeating that free money does not flow directly to individuals or families.
You must apply for financial assistance at the appropriate end-point.
- Federal Home Improvement Grants in Texas
- Home Improvement Grants at Texas Agencies
- Texas Home Improvement Projects
The federal government awards several home improvement grants to help low-income households. Texas families that meet the poverty level and other criteria may be eligible for these programs.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the primary federal initiative helping Texas residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes. WAP might support various upgrades free to low-income homeowners if the project reduces electricity or gas consumption.
Apply for WAP by contacting the sub-recipient nearest your home. If your household meets the income criteria, they will arrange an energy audit of your home. The analysis will generate recommendations based on a Savings to Investment Ratio (SIR), often prioritized in this order.
- Addition of insulation and weather stripping
- Upgrade inefficient heating and cooling units
- Installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Free appliances (refrigerators before washers & dryers)
- Window and door replacement
- Leaky roof repair and replacement
The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is a secondary federal initiative helping Texas residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes. LIHEAP allocates most of its grant money to lower utility bills (gas and electric), while a small percentage goes towards repairs of heating and cooling units.
Apply for CEAP by contacting the sub-recipient nearest your home. Be prepared to provide copies of your latest utility bills, show proof of income, and demonstrate eligibility for other government programs such as SSI, TANF, etc.
Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides home improvement grants to electrify Texas households and move them away from natural gas consumption. The assistance comes as rebates and tax credits.
The IRA provides up to $14,000 in point-of-sale rebates towards the purchase and installation of electrification project costs for low and moderate-income families.
- Heat pump HVAC systems ($8,000)
- Electric stoves and cooktops ($840)
- Heat pump water heater ($1,750)
- Upgraded circuit panels ($4,000)
- Insulation, air sealing, and ventilation ($1,600)
- Electric wiring improvements ($2,500)
The IRA establishes three valuable tax credits for qualifying home improvements that save energy. Credits can increase the size of your refund even if you do not owe any taxes!
- Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit: up to $1,200 annually towards the costs of installing energy-efficient insulation, windows, doors, roofing, and similar improvements in your home
- Residential Clean Energy Credit: 30% of the cost to install qualifying systems that use solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, or fuel cell power to produce electricity
- Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit: Up to $1,000 for equipment used to recharge an electric vehicle
USDA Section 504 grants of up to $10,000 help Texas seniors with home improvement projects that remediate health and safety hazards.
The Section 504 program offers grants to low-income seniors over 62 who own and occupy their house and cannot afford to repay an improvement loan because their total debt ratio exceeds 40%.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several home improvement grants to help former personnel residing in Texas 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.
Apply for service disability grants through the VA to determine eligibility.
- 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
- Home Improvement and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant provides medically necessary improvements and structural alterations to primary residences
Home Improvement Grants at Texas Agencies
Many Texas agencies are home improvement grant recipients that directly allocate benefits to eligible residents or channel the free federal money to sub-recipients to perform this function.
This section covers several pathways to finding the help you need.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) is a good starting point for identifying ultimate grant recipients that might offer financial assistance with home repairs and improvement and determine whether you qualify.
Find the financial help you need online through the TDHCA database of local providers and organizations by following a three-step process.
- Choose the type of assistance needed
- Home repair, architectural barrier removal, and rehabilitation
- Utility bill payment help (CEAP, which may include heating and cooling upgrades)
- Weatherization (WAP, which may consist of HVAC, window, roof, and appliance replacement)
- Enter your city or county
- Press the “Find Help” button
The online tool will present you with a list of local resources that might help. Of course, you will have to contact each organization and apply for benefits as they direct. See if you qualify and whether they have any available funding.
Many large cities in Texas provide home improvement assistance to residents in their metropolitan areas. The funding may come from property taxes or federal grant money funneled through the state.
The City of Dallas supports several home improvement and repair initiatives.
- The Senior Home Repair Program provides grants of up to $10,000.00 for approved applicants
- The Home Improvement & Preservation Program offers zero-interest and forgivable loans
- Targeted Rehab Program preserves and improves residential properties in historic districts
- Healthy Homes Lead Reduction remediates health and safety hazards in residences with children
The City of Houston assists with single-family home repairs to protect a homeowner’s life, health, and safety. The program gives preference to seniors over 62, families with children under 18, and individuals with disabilities.
However, the City of Houston had no funding at the time of application, perhaps due to the overwhelming demand caused by Hurricane Harvey.
The City of San Antonio home repair and remediation programs help qualified residents with low to moderate incomes fix up their residences.
- Home rehab assists with specific repairs
- Roof Shingle Replacement
- Electrical / Plumbing / Heating + Cooling
- Water Heater
- Windows and Doors
- Green and Healthy Homes corrects health and safety hazards such as lead-based paint, asthma triggers, and fire risks
The City of Austin supports several home repair assistance programs for eligible residents to help Austinites remain in the area.
- Architectural Barrier Removal makes residences accessible for seniors and individuals with disabilities
- Go Repair Grants fixes severe structural issues for low-income families
- Minor Home Repair Grants helps low-income households keep their residence safe
- Plumbing Program helps fix toilets, pipes, sinks, faucets, drains, water heaters, diverter valves, and more
Texas homeowners living in suburban or rural areas might be able to find financial assistance with home repairs through county agencies that get funding from federal grants or property taxes.
The Harris County Home Repair Program seeks to alleviate specific life, health, and safety hazards resulting from substandard conditions in a home owned and occupied by low-income, elderly, and disabled individuals.
The Tarrant County Home Owner Rehabilitation Program helps residents living outside the major metropolitan areas (Fort Worth, Arlington, and Grand Prairie) with significant system failures in their roofs, electrical wiring, foundations, and plumbing.
Tarrant County also assists with ADA barrier removals.
The Travis County Home Repair Program provides materials and labor to correct threats to health and safety for qualified low-income residents once every ten years.
- Repair and Replace Roofing
- Limited ADA Accessibility Compliance
- Grab Bars
- Repair and Replace HVAC
- Electrical and Plumbing
- Septic Systems
Texas Home Improvement Projects
Texas residents might find it easier to locate home improvement and repair grants when searching by the specific project because so many programs overlap or have different points of emphasis.
Roof repair assistance programs in Texas draw from federal and state-level initiatives. Your ability to qualify depends on the criteria established by the governing agency.
Government grants for roof replacement have many possible eligibility avenues. However, it could prove challenging, given the significant expenses ($10,000 or more) associated with installing new shingles, trusses, and awnings.
Therefore, apply for the free roof replacement programs that closely match your situation.
- WAP: Improves energy efficiency for low-income families
- Section 504: Low-income seniors addressing safety hazards
- IRA: offers tax credits for energy-efficient roofing materials
The Texas window replacement program combines various federal and state-level initiatives and works similarly. The cost of installing new glass panes for an entire single-family house could overshadow government allocations.
Free window replacement grants have limited budgets because other home improvements show better Savings to Investment Ratios (SIR) on energy conservation and other objectives.
(WAP) is the primary vehicle to fund window replacement. You would need to contact the grant sub-recipient in your area to submit your application and arrange an energy audit.
Texans have three avenues to find help upgrading or replacing HVAC equipment (furnaces, water heaters, and air conditioning units) because the energy savings are often significant and supposedly protect the environment.
Grants for HVAC systems in 2023 are available through the sub-recipients in your local area that implement the two federal initiatives covered in the first section.
- (WAP) focuses on energy-saving improvements that reduce the consumption of gas and electricity
- (CEAP) emphasizes lowering utility bills but supports upgrades to furnaces and air conditioning when warranted
- (IRA) provides rebates heat pump-based furnaces, air conditioning units, water heaters