Home Improvement Grants for Seniors in Chicago, Illinois

by Nathan Greenhalgh ; Updated July 27, 2017
Home improvement for Chicago seniors is a realistic goal, given the number of grants, free service and loan guarantee programs that are available.

Improving property can get expensive, especially for seniors on a fixed income. In addition, Americans are living longer, so they require housing for a much longer time. The work itself can be difficult for aging bodies, and seniors may not be up to the physical tasks of home renovation. Fortunately, in the Chicago area, a plethora of repair grant and loan programs are available, so senior citizens can get their homes repaired or refurbished.

Federal Programs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a branch of the federal government, offers property improvement loan insurance for loans from any of the 10 Chicago banks that participate in the program. HUD also offers the family mortgage insurance program, which provides a mortgage loan guarantee with the same banks for purchasing blighted property and improving it. This program comes with more red tape than HUD's property improvement loan insurance.

Community Program Department of Housing 33 N. LaSalle St. 11th floor Chicago, IL 60602 312-742-0634 cityofchicago.org

Municipal Programs

The Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors program provides home improvement services for residents over 60 years old who are earning less than 80 percent of the area's median income, adjusted for family size. The improvements are limited to making living areas disabled-accessible. The program is administered through nonprofit agencies that serve various wards in the city. To access the information directly, go to the City of Chicago's website; enter "SARFS" into the search bar in the top right corner; and click "Go"; or contact the main office.

City of Chicago Office of Community Development 121 North LaSalle St. 10th Floor Chicago, IL 60602 312-744-4190 cityofchicago.org

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TIF

Chicago's tax increment finance (TIF) districts, of which there are 216 scattered throughout the city, periodically have funds available for grants to improve properties within their districts' boundaries. The funding for TIF districts is derived from the incremental increases of tax revenue over time, so that the portion of tax revenue above its original value is dedicated to the TIF fund. Check the City of Chicago's website to see which districts are currently disbursing funds--go to the City of Chicago's website; enter "TIF" into the search bar; and click "Go." The top search result will be the main page for the website's TIF section and will feature the latest news on which TIF districts are currently disbursing funds.

City of Chicago Office of Community Development 121 North LaSalle St. 10th Floor Chicago, IL 60602 312-744-4190 cityofchicago.org

Nonprofits

Nonprofit agencies in Chicago offer both free home repair and limited renovation loans as well as loan guarantees for more large-scale home improvement projects. Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (HOME) offers free home repairs, with only the cost of parts sometimes charged. Services include fixing plumbing, electrical, doors and locks as well as the installation of bathroom grab-bars and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Senior Link Alliance offers a similar program for seniors living in Northern and Northwest Chicago. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago offers fixed-rate home improvement loans for more expensive renovations such as a new kitchen, roof, siding or central air conditioning. Income eligibility requirements as well as other stipulations to get the loan are specified.

Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly, H.O.M.E. 1419 W. Carroll Ave. Chicago, IL 60607 773-921-3200 homeseniors.org

Senior Link Alliance 4100 North Long Ave. Chicago, IL 60641 312-744-9053 seniorlinkalliance.org

Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Inc. 1279 N. Milwaukee Ave. 5th Floor Chicago, Illinois 60622 773-329-4010 nhschicago.org

About the Author

Nathan Greenhalgh received his first freelance writing assignment in 2005 and has worked as a reporter, freelance foreign correspondent and editor since 2006. Publications he has written for include "Foreign Policy," "The Christian Science Monitor," "Baltic Reports," "Baltic Times," "bthere," "Wisconsin State Journal" and "Reedsburg Times-Press." He has a bachelor's degree in communication from DePaul University.

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