Funding for Bay Area Homes’ Earthquake Retrofitting Grants Nearing Depletion

BMO Bank’s Welcome Home Grant offers eligible customers up to $13,000 in non-repayable grant money for home purchases, benefitting homeowners like 22-year-old Atanai Nunez-Samaniego who bought a house without needing her savings at closing. The grant is available in multiple markets and can be applied to closing costs or down payments. It targets residents of Marion County and surrounding areas, particularly low to moderate census tracts. Other lenders, like Bank of America, offer similar programs aimed at boosting homeownership in underserved regions.

Le Sueur County, Minnesota, is reallocating $110,846 from a 2010 Minnesota Small Cities Development Program grant back to Le Center, Elysian, Waterville, and New Prague for local residential restoration. The original grant aimed to fund repairs on owner-occupied homes through a 10-year deferred loan system. Due to homeowners moving, a portion of the funds has returned to the county. The cities are expected to use these funds to develop their own improvement programs. The money must go towards projects that benefit low to moderate income individuals, eliminate slum and blight conditions, or address urgent public safety concerns.

Time is running out for homeowners in Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley in California who have a “soft-story” structure, with a living space above a garage, to apply for a seismic retrofit grant. The deadline to take advantage of this pilot program, funded by the federal government, is rapidly approaching on Wednesday.

The Earthquake Soft Story (ESS) pilot grant program aims to assist eligible California homeowners in retrofitting their homes with soft stories. Under this program, homeowners can receive financial assistance of up to $13,000 to strengthen the walls and structure of their garage, thereby reducing the risk of the living space above collapsing into the garage during an earthquake. The initiative is overseen by the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program.

This pilot program is specifically available to homeowners residing in certain zip codes in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Pasadena, and Los Angeles. Eligible homes must have been constructed prior to 2000. It is crucial for homeowners to act quickly as the application deadline for the program is set for this Wednesday, May 31.

To access more information about the ESS Program and register for a grant, homeowners are encouraged to visit the CRMP website.

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Christopher Charles spent 6 years in the mortgage industry before moving into the world of digital media. He's helped thousands of families buy and refinance real estate at banks and mortgage companies and now continues that mission through industry-leading content. Chris is known for his expertise in the mortgage & real estate industry and continues to produce content all over the web.

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