Good news for low-income households who are living in rural areas and who wish to partake in a home improvement and repair project. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Rural Development, the country’s leading agency committed to helping improve the lives of rural residents and the economy, has introduced the Low-Income Housing Repair Loans and Grants program where low-income rural homeowners are able to take on home improvement, maintenance and repair projects that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to afford because of the huge expenses involved in improving a home.
The Office of Rural Development has laid out funds that can be granted and borrowed under the Low-Income Housing Repair Loans and Grants program. The program offers to fund general home repairs and upgrades, or make improvements that will remove health and safety hazards in a home. Furthermore, the funds can be utilized for remodelling or repair of residential properties to make them more convenient and accessible to homeowners that have physical disabilities.
The program also includes home renovations that consist of replacement or fixing of heating systems, water and waste disposal systems, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as weatherization and roofing systems.
The Office of Rural Development is geared to allocate an estimated $20,000 for loan borrowers and $7,500 for those who are eligible for grants. The loans granted within this program have a one percent interest rate and repayment can be made for over a period of up to 20 years. To qualify for the Low-Income Housing Repair Loans and Grants, homeowners deemed eligible can drop by the nearest local Rural Development field office where their homes are located.
For those who are interested to apply for the grants and loans, they should remember that the program is available only to homeowners living in the rural areas. This means that the place they live in should have a population not exceeding 10,000 in the United States, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana’s and the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands.
Eligible loan applicants are homeowners who own and reside in a property in a qualified rural area. Applicants should also have the capability and the willingness to repay the loan. The USDA Income and Property Eligibility website can help you establish your income eligibility to receive a direct loan.
Conversely, grant applicants are homeowners aged 62 years old and above. These qualified applicants are those that don’t have the capacity of repaying the grants allotted to them. The applicant’s capacity to pay back a loan takes on multiple factors such as income, assets, debts and the payment amount that applicants may be entitled to receive.
Not only can this program assist low-income applicants repair their homes, this program also enables them to create and obtain more decent, safer and more sanitary living spaces. Aside from these home improvement grants and loans, the USDA Office of Rural Development runs over fifty financial assistance programs to help improve the quality of living among rural inhabitants.