How Do I Get a Grant From the Government to Improve My House?

How Do I Get a Grant From the Government to Improve My House?
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Two federal government agencies provide grants to homeowners for the purpose of home improvements, and applicants must meet strict guidelines to be approved for either program. Grant money to fund home repairs is not always easy to come by, but for qualified applicants, the money can be extremely helpful in improving the safety and general livability of a home. Generally, grants are restricted to low-income homeowners who live in rural areas or areas in need of revitalization.

Contact your local housing office to see if there are any government funds available for the purpose of home improvements. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides rehabilitation grants to qualified applicants whose homes are in need of remodeling or repair. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a Rural Development grant, but it is restricted to individuals over 62 who meet income guidelines and live in designated areas of the country. This grant can be used to enhance the safety of a home.

Discuss your home improvement project with a housing counselor to see if either of the available grant programs is applicable to your needs. Although both programs are funded by the federal government, funds are dispersed at the local level. Depending on your financial situation, location and the intended use of the grant money, the counselor will let you know if funds are available and if you are a candidate for either program.

Fill out an application for the grant you are interested in obtaining, and file it with your local housing agency or rural development office. Because the Rural Development grant is available only for necessary remodeling (such as making the dwelling accessible for household members with disabilities) or health- and safety-related repairs, applicants will need to schedule a home inspection to assess the intended improvements before the funds are released. HUD grants do not require a home inspection.

Always apply for grants through a recognized government agency or nonprofit organization. Many scams exist that lure individuals with the promise of housing grants, so if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Legitimate government grants do not require a fee, nor will the agencies ask for personal credit card or bank account numbers.