Loans are not available to everyone, and they may not provide enough funding to allow a homeowner to fix his house or purchase a new one. Thus, in addition to federal and state loan assistance, Missouri residents can receive grants to help them improve or purchase a home. These grants are only available under specific circumstances which vary depending on the grant program.
Home Opportunity Repair Program
The Home Opportunity Repair Program, also called HeRO, provides money for low and moderate income homeowners to make home repairs on the single-family units in which they live. This includes reducing lead exposure, weatherizing, improving handicap accessibility or repairing or updating plumbing, electrical systems and roofing. Grants under this program are only available in non-metropolitan areas of Missouri. Since the grants are distributed through the Missouri Housing Development Commission’s community partners in each region, residents must live in a town that is located within one of the participating partner’s service areas. In addition, applicants must meet income guidelines. If a homeowner’s application is approved, he can receive up to $20,000 for repairs.
Neighborhood Preservation Act
Missouri’s Neighborhood Preservation Act provides incentives for taxpayers to purchase a new residence or rehabilitate an existing residence in a qualifying area, including distressed communities as defined by state law and areas with low household income. Persons who qualify for this program must file a pre-application with the Department of Economic Development listing the cost estimates and scope of work, and applicants must file their applications during the designated application period. Qualified applicants are entered into a lottery process, and winners of the lottery can claim a special tax credit.
Missouri Housing Trust Fund
Very low-income families and individuals -- those with incomes below 50 percent of median income -- may obtain assistance through organizations that have received grants from the Missouri Housing Trust Fund. The fund provides grants to developers or nonprofits that provide housing and related services to these residents. Applicants must show they are capable of running the housing or other services they propose to operate with the grant funds, and applications must demonstrate a need for housing for very low-income persons and must leverage trust fund dollars with other sources of income such as grants, loans or tax credits. The trust is funded by a recording fee on all real estate documents filed in Missouri.
Assistance in Disasters
Missouri’s Mo-AID program helps those in disaster areas who were affected by severe weather purchase homes. The program offers loans but also provides 5 percent cash assistance to help with the down payment or closing costs. If the homebuyer obtains his mortgage through the Missouri Housing Development Commission, the cash assistance is provided at no interest and is forgiven after the buyer lives in his home for five years. There are income and purchase price limits for this program depending on the type of home purchased and the area in which it is located.
Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.