Grants for Homeowners in Illinois

How can I get a home improvement grant in Illinois?

Home improvement or home repair grants and loans in Illinois, or any other state in the US are available to low and moderate income homeowners, renters and lenders, low income families with children, low income senior citizens and disabled people. The eligibility requirements on these funds vary on income, age, type of property, as well as location of property. Reaching out to federal, state and county agencies that administer grant and loan programs is your first step. 

For convenience, search and apply for Illinois home repair grants online. You can start by visiting your local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD office and get informed on the homeownership assistance and improvement programs on the following link:

https://www.hud.gov/states/illinois/community/home.

If you need to connect with resources in your community, but don’t know where to look, 211 Illinois is also a great place to start. Visit their site or call 2-1-1 and get the information you need https://www.illinois211.org/. 211 Illinois is a free, live telephone service available on a 24-hour basis to connect residents to a variety of human services or social services across the state. According to their official website, the 2-1-1 call specialists are available 24/7 to help callers find such services as mortgage, rent, and utility assistance, food, emergency shelter, health care, counseling, support groups, etc., that are available right in their communities.

One very important factor when applying is being informed on time, since most of them operate on a first come first served basis, and the funds are limited. Knowing where to start so you can begin the qualifying portion is your first goal. There are more than one place where you can get informed and apply for these funds. Also, keep in mind that not all grants will be categorized specifically under home improvement needs. They may be related to broader themes such as conservation, community upgrades, veteran or low-income family support for all residents.

How can I get a solar grant in Illinois?

The state of Illinois offers home and business owners as well as non-profits and government properties incentives and rebates for installing alternative energy, including photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind turbines and geothermal systems. Going solar in 2021 is essential for reducing the carbon emissions by using renewable clean energy from the sun and lowering your monthly energy costs. Solar Energy Industries ranks Illinois 23rd in the nation for installed solar capacity. There are 314 solar companies found in the state and if you decided to go solar you can explore your options at the following link: 

https://www.energysage.com/local-data/solar-companies/il/?rc=seia

Illinois Solar for All provides greater access to the clean energy economy for low-income communities through incentives that help make solar installations more affordable and result in measurable savings for participants. Illinois Solar for All also offers a community solar program, where participants can buy or lease a share of the community solar system. Participants are credited on their monthly utility bill for the energy produced by their share of the community solar system. The household’s total income must be 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or less based on the most recent tax return.

Illinois’ Adjustable Block Program (ABP), also known as Illinois Shines,  lets you earn Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) your home solar energy system generates. The ABP offers a set price for the purchase of each SREC through 15-year contracts from qualifying solar array projects. When combined with the Federal 26% Solar Tax Credit, it can slash your solar installation costs by up to 65% on an average sized 6kW solar system.

The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit or ITC is a federal policy that supports the use of solar energy in the USA. This policy represents a 26 % tax credit claimed against the tax liability for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. As of Jul 2021, the average cost of solar panels in Illinois is $2.57.00 per watt making a typical 6000 watt (6 kW) solar system $11,397.00 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit now available. You can apply this credit on your taxes when you purchase solar systems and install them on your roofs.

The percentage that you can get is the following:

  • 26 percent for projects that begin construction in 2021 and 2022,
  • 22 percent for projects that begin construction in 2023,
  • After 2023, the residential credit drops to zero while the commercial credit drops to a permanent 10 percent.

To apply for this credit you must meet certain criteria, such as:

  • The solar PV system is located at your primary or secondary residence in the United States, or for an off-site community solar project, if the electricity generated is credited against, and does not exceed, your home’s electricity consumption,
  • You own the solar PV system (i.e., you purchased it with cash or through financing but you are neither leasing nor are in an arrangement to purchase electricity generated by a system you do not own),
  • The solar PV system is new or being used for the first time. The credit can only be claimed on the “original installation” of the solar equipment.

How can I get a debt grant?

Although getting a grant that will cover your debt is not available, there are still several other options in Illinois to consolidate and lower your debts. While the government does not typically provide debt grants, it does offer a variety of programs that can assist consumers who are struggling with their finances or overwhelmed with credit card debts. Many credit counselors offer debt consolidation programs that can lower the interest rate on your outstanding debts, like high-interest credit card debts. Another option at your disposal is the debt consolidation loans where a debt consolidation lender pays off your debts and all you are left with is one single payment for this new loan. The third option is debt settlement in which a debt negotiator works out a settlement with your creditors. 

If you’re facing unmanageable debt, a Debt Management Program might be the answer. This program helps you pay off your debt to multiple creditors with a single, comfortable monthly payment. When you sign for this kind of program at any of the available agencies, they negotiate better terms for you from each of your creditors. The payment then goes to your chosen agency and they distribute those funds on your behalf. A debt management plan is not a loan, but an agreement between debt management companies and creditors on your behalf. Although this is NOT a grant, you still save money in interest and fees. Before you agree to a debt management plan, it is advisable to get help from a credit counseling organization. Debt Management Plans usually last from 36 to 60 months. 

Another financial strategy to pay off your debts is through a Debt Consolidation Loan. This means getting a loan to pay off all of your debts and then make single monthly payments to your lender. The advantages are that debt consolidation loans usually carry a lower interest rate, and these loans usually take 2 to 5 years to repay, depending on the amount. The loans can be secured by a home, car, or property or unsecured.

Debt Settlement is your third option, in which a debt negotiator works out a settlement with your creditor. This settlement reduces your existing loan principles and credit card balances by a substantial margin. This option is a prime alternative to bankruptcy. 

If you are having credit card debts, you can use a Balance Transfer Credit Card. This type of card typically comes with a promotional, low, or zero percent interest rate, which lasts usually 12-18, but in some cases could go for 24 months.

If you live in Illinois and have outstanding student loans, the state could pay off some of your debt to help you buy a house. The SmartBuy program, offered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, helps anyone who wants to buy a home in Illinois by paying off up to $40,000.00 in student debt, or a loan amount equal to 15% of the home purchase price. Along with paying off student loans, the program also provides $5,000.00 that can be used for a down payment or closing costs.

Are there homeowner grants for bills?

The government or other available grants can give cash to help pay for housing, rent, utilities, medical supplies, or even transportation costs. There are resources for low-income families, single mothers, the disabled, the unemployed, the underemployed, and others in need. Many Illinois utility companies have programs to assist low-income customers. These programs may help you pay your utility bills or lower the amount of energy you use. 

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps eligible low-income households pay for home energy services. Annual eligibility levels are determined based on available funding and may not exceed 200% of the federal non-farm poverty level. The LIHEAP program offers 5 kinds of help to income-eligible households: Direct Vendor Payment (DVP), Emergency Services (ES), Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), Reconnection Assistance (RA), and Furnace Assistance (FA). You may call (877) 411-9276 to learn where you can apply in your county. For more information on this program and how to apply, you may also visit the link below and choose your county:

https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CommunityServices/HomeWeatherization/CommunityActionAgencies/Pages/default.aspx

The Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) may also help you with your utility bill. PIPP is available to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) households and applies to the following providers Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Nicor Gas, and Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas. In this program, you pay a percentage of your income, then you receive a monthly benefit toward your utility bill, as well as a reduction in overdue payments. You may make one direct payment or monthly payments under PIPP.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) also administers a new Utility Disconnection Avoidance Program (UDAP). This program will provide financial help to families facing the risk of shutoff. You may receive a one-time credit of at least $250.00 up to a maximum of $5,000.00 for each eligible utility account. To qualify for UDAP, you must be both currently on a utility disconnection list and have received state energy assistance through LIHEAP or PIPP between October 1, 2018, through May 31, 2021. To be eligible to receive these services a person must be a resident of Illinois and have a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. 

If you or someone you know is behind on rent, a new program helps tenants pay their rent. It is called Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP) and it is administered through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to help tenants who have not been able to pay rent due to Covid-19. If you qualify, you can get up to $25,000.00 to help pay your rent. The amount you get is based on how much rent you owe.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority also created the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program or EMA to help homeowners affected by Covid 19 pay their mortgage. If you qualify, you can get up to $15,000.00 to help you pay your mortgage. The money will go directly to your mortgage servicer.

DuPage County Community Services provides financial assistance for medical fees, eyeglasses, dental fees, prescriptions, and supplies. Services include assistance with medical fees, prescriptions, and medical supplies such as X-rays lab work, doctor visits, dental work, glucometers, walkers, crutches, eyeglasses, syringes, and more.

If you are interested in more information on the services provided, please call 630-407-6500 or 1-800-942-9412 or email [email protected].

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is run by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The program is for families with children and pregnant women who need temporary cash assistance. Those receiving TANF also receive medical assistance.

Are there tax grants for homeowners?

Illinois homeowners may reduce their tax bills every year by taking advantage of the General Homestead Exemption. The amount of exemption is the increase in the current year’s equalized assessed value (EAV), above the 1977 EAV, up to a maximum of $10,000.00 in Cook County and $6,000 in all other counties.

Long-time Occupant Homestead Exemption (LOHE) is another tax exemption option available to Cook County residents only. The exemption limits the growth in equalized assessed value. The allowed increase in equalized assessed value is 7% for households with income $75,000.00 or less and 10% for households with income over $75,000.00 to $100,000.00.

The Homestead Exemption for Persons with Disabilities or HEPD is an annual $2,000.00 reduction in the equalized assessed value or EAV of the primary residence that is owned and occupied by a person with a disability who is liable for the payment of property taxes.

The Veterans with Disabilities Exemption for Specially-Adapted Housing is another exemption that offers up to $100,000.00 reduction on the assessed value for certain types of housing owned and used exclusively by a veteran with a disability in which federal funds have been used for the purchase or construction of specially adapted housing.

The Homestead Improvement Exemption is limited to the fair cash value, up to an annual maximum of $75,000.00, that was added to homestead property by any new modification or rebuilding after a catastrophic event, and continues for four years from the date the improvement or rebuilding is completed and occupied. 

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a federal dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit for affordable housing investments. According to their official site, a developer proposes a project to the Illinois Housing Development Authority or IHDA, wins an allocation of tax credits, completes the project, certifies its cost, and rents up the project to low-income tenants. 

The Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit (IAHTC), also known as the Donations Tax Credit is a state tax credit that encourages private investment in affordable housing by providing donors of qualified donations with a one-time tax credit on their Illinois state income tax equal to 50% of the value of the donation. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) administers the statewide program, and the City of Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) administers the program in the City of Chicago. 

How can I get a grant to repair my home?

Home repair grants and loans are not given to anyone and for any purpose. The best way to get a grant to repair your home is to meet all the required criteria, have all the necessary documents, and submit your application within the given deadline. 

Each of these grants varies in income, age, type of repair necessary, and location. Very low income and low-income families, families with children, single parents, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and veterans have a primary position when it comes to approval. Repairing a home is a very broad subject and can cover many projects within. Unfortunately, not all of them are eligible for grant fundings. No one will give you free money if you don’t like the tiles in your bathroom or the wall color in your living room. Emergency repairs, including addressing health and safety hazards, as well as home modification that improves code violations are the eligible repairs. Start by researching online on the available federal and state programs, then move to your county and city. Non-profit organizations, charities, and local churches also provide financial aid, volunteer labor, or discounted material you may use.

Keep in mind these funds are limited and they usually work on a first comes first-served basis, so you want to be informed on time. Make sure you meet all the required criteria and you have all the required documents. Another fact you should know is that not all grants will be categorized specifically under home improvement needs. They may be related to broader themes such as conservation, community upgrades, veteran or low-income family support for all residents.

For convenience, search and apply for Illinois home repair grants online. You can start by visiting your local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD office and get informed on the homeownership assistance and improvement programs on the following link:

https://www.hud.gov/states/illinois/community/home.

If you need to connect with resources in your community, but don’t know where to look, 211 Illinois is also a great place to start. Visit their site or call 2-1-1 and get the information you need https://www.illinois211.org/. According to their official website, the 2-1-1 call specialists are available 24/7 to help callers find such services as mortgage, rent, and utility assistance, food, emergency shelter, health care, counseling, support groups, etc., that are available right in their communities.

How can I get a grant for windows?

Grants are available in Illinois to help with the cost of repairing or installing new windows if your current windows are cracked, broken, leaking, old, or inefficient. Window repair and replacement are considered an emergency repair and it is usually covered by all home improvement grants and loan programs.

The Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) helps low-income residents using funds from the Department of Energy. Weatherization to improve the energy efficiency of the home can include weather stripping, caulking, insulation, repairing or replacing windows and doors. To be eligible to receive assistance, the household’s combined income must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty level using State funds, and 200% of the federal poverty level using DOE and HHS funding.

Window repair and replacement is an eligible project in all home improvement programs. The Single Family Rehab Program – Round 3 or SFR, administered by the Illinois Housing Development Agency, will assist low-income and very-low-income homeowners with repairs to their homes and remove health and safety hazards by repairing or replacing costly maintenance items.

Community Contacts, Inc., a non-profit organization, also provides two weatherization programs to serve homeowners and renters in Kane and Dekalb Counties of different income levels. The Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program provides free energy conservation measures for eligible Homeowners and Renters in Kane and DeKalb Counties. This program is administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Energy Assistance. Some energy-reducing measures include attic and wall insulation, caulking windows/ doors, air sealing, furnace replacement, central air conditioning, and water heater replacement. Call (847) 697-8800 for further information, or use the form below to apply:

The second program offered by this organization is the Utility Energy Consumption Reduction Program. This program is designed to enable income-eligible homeowners to undertake measures to their homes reducing energy consumption. Eligible applicants are homeowners and renters whose incomes do not exceed 80% of the area median income.

How can I get a grant for new flooring?

A home improvement flooring project is a complex and expensive project. Whatever your home flooring style, you’re sure to face a repair or replacement project if you live in your home for a long time or have moved into an older property. Luckily, low and moderate-income homeowners in Illinois can reach their local government or visit their government official site and apply for a home improvement grant. These grants offer partial or complete financial aid to eligible homeowners, and they can be used for health and safety issues, as well as emergency repairs. Start your research online for federal, state, county, or city programs that may help you partially or totally. 

County of McHenry administers a Single-Family Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program to assist low-income homeowners of McHenry County with health, safety, and accessibility issues. St. Clair County also offers grants, loans, and forgivable loans to assist with home rehabilitation, as well as homebuyer assistance and new home construction. Their Emergency Repair Program provides funds up to $5,000.00 per household to eligible low-income persons to address any items that threaten the health or safety of the resident. If you are a resident of the Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials service areas, which include Adams, Brown, Pike, and Schuyler Counties, you may be eligible for their home improvement grant programs that provide funds to cover your foundation repair projects. A Home Repair Program is also available in Lake County and Evanston, administered by the Community Partners For Affordable Housing. This program offers up to $40,000.00 to eligible homeowners with a household income of 80% of the Area Median Income. In Lake County, assistance is structured as a 0%-interest forgivable loan with no monthly payments. 

Repairing or replacing your flooring and foundation can also be covered by funds from the Minor Home Repair Program in the city of Champaign. Eligible applicants for this program are homeowners with incomes up to 50% of the median family income (or up to 80% for seniors or persons with disabilities). This city also offers a Full Home Improvement Program that provides forgivable deferred payment loans and installment loans to eligible Champaign homeowners to make repairs to deteriorated single-family dwelling units.

For convenience, search and apply for Illinois home repair grants online. You can start by visiting your local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD office and get informed on the homeownership assistance and improvement programs on the following link:

https://www.hud.gov/states/illinois/community/home.

Are there grants for the elderly?

Senior citizens living in Illinois may get help from many federal, state, county, and city programs, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. This help can be in the form of home maintenance and minor services, transportation, assistive technology equipment, legal aid, food vouchers, and home-delivered meals, senior centers, caregiver counseling, and in-home respite care, etc. Assistance programs help the elderly, retirees, and older Americans, whether they have medical issues or not. The Illinois Department of Aging offers services and programs to assist older Illinoisans. Most of these services are provided by the state’s Area Agencies on Aging. Start by finding your local agency at the following link:

https://webapps.illinois.gov/AGE/ProviderProfileSearch.

If you are living in a rural area anywhere in the US, getting help for repairing your home is possible by the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants or Section 504. This program offers 1% interest loans up to $20,000.00 to low-income homeowners and grants up to $7,500.00 to low-income people over 62. You can also make a combination of a loan and a grant and get up to $27,500.00.

The Illinois Home Accessibility Program (HAP), also called the Trust Fund Home Accessibility Program is a statewide program, funded by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) that provides grants to low-income seniors and disabled residents of Illinois to make homes (both owned and rented) safer and more accessible. Home modifications and repairs come in many different forms and may include the addition of walk-in showers, installation of wheelchair ramps, fixing leaky roofs, remodeling hallways and flooring for wheelchair access, and more. This program is available to households where at least one individual is a senior citizen or a disabled person. Senior citizens must be at 60 years of age and physically limited in their movements. The household income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income.

The Small Accessible Repairs For Seniors Program (SARFS) provides safety, security, and accessibility improvements that help senior citizens to remain in their homes. The funds may be used in repairs such as grab bars, lever faucets, door repairs, wheelchair ramps, smoke detectors, etc. To be eligible for this program you must be at age 60 or older and earn no more than 80% of the area’s median income. The program is administered through nonprofit agencies that serve various wards in the city. 

The Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption (SCAFHE)  “freezes” the senior citizen’s property’s equalized assessed value the year that the senior citizen qualifies for the exemption. This exemption is available to senior citizens age 65 and older, with a total household income of $65,000.00 or less. This exemption allows senior citizens to maintain the equalized assessed value (EAV) of their homes at the base year EAV and prevent any increase in that value due to inflation.  

The Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption is available for property that is occupied as a residence by a person 65 years of age or older who is liable for paying real estate taxes on the property. The maximum amount of the reduction in equalized assessed value is $8,000.00 in Cook County and $5,000.00 in all other counties.

The Senior Deferral Program allows persons 65 years of age and older to defer all or part of the real estate taxes and special assessments (up to a maximum of $5,000.00) on their principal residences. This program does not reduce your property taxes, however, it allows the senior to defer paying the taxes until the senior no longer owns and occupies the property.  Property taxes can be deferred every year but the total deferred amount cannot exceed 80% of the senior’s equity in the property.

Mount Prospect offers a Handyman Program for seniors. This program provides reduced-cost handyman services to seniors (age 60+ years) who need minor home repairs in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Palatine, and Rolling Meadows. The Handyman Program can help low-income seniors with grab bar installation, curtain hanging, toilet repair, changing locks, screen repair, sink repair, tacking carpet, cleaning gutters, hanging pictures, and more. 

Are there grants for low-income homeowners?

There is a variety of financial assistance available when it comes to home improvement grants and loans in Illinois. You may be eligible for all kinds of federal, state, county, or city grant programs. Some non-profit organizations and charities help families in need, giving priority to low-income families with children, seniors, single parents, people with disabilities, and veterans. 

The Illinois Housing Development Agency uses funds available through its Affordable Housing Trust Fund and administers programs to assist income-qualified homeowners to rehabilitate homes throughout the state. Affordable Housing Trust Fund Program funds are sourced from the State’s Real Estate Transfer Tax. The Single Family Rehab Program Round 3 or SFR  will assist low-income and very-low-income homeowners with repairs to their homes and remove health and safety hazards by repairing or replacing costly maintenance items. Households receiving loans must be at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI) and are eligible to receive up to $45,000.00 in assistance for necessary home repairs, or up to $16,500.00 per household under the Single Family Rehab with Roof Only Option or SFR-R, to address roofs, soffits, and downspouts for homes not having other major health and safety issues. For additional information, visit the following link:

https://www.ihda.org/my-community/revitalization-programs/ or contact [email protected].

The Illinois Housing Development Agency also provides funds to Community Contacts, Inc., a non-profit organization serving Kane and Dekalb counties in Illinois. Their Housing Rehabilitation Program provides grants and low-interest loans up to $30,000.00 for home repair projects. Homeowners in Kane County (excluding Aurora) who meet income and home value qualifications may be eligible for a no-interest, deferred loan for the rehab work. In addition, grants are available to address lead-based hazards in homes. You may submit your application at the following link:

The Illinois Hardest Hit Program, administered by the Community Service Council, also offers three types of financial assistance to Illinois homeowners who have experienced an income reduction of at least 15% due to a qualifying hardship event. Qualifying events include unemployment, underemployment, decrease or loss of business income, loss of income due to a disability, divorce, or death of a spouse. Their Health and Safety Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program offers financial aid to assist low to moderate-income owner-occupied households with housing rehabilitation to ensure a safe and hazard-free home. This program offers low-moderate income Will County homeowners under the age of 62 years, the assistance of up to $10,000.00 per household toward the cost of health and safety repairs. To be eligible for owner-occupied rehab assistance, the applicant must be low-income, which is defined as a household whose total income does not exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI). You can use the link below to apply:

The Community Development Department has programs that will pay partially or completely for repairs and rehabilitation for the homes of those that meet income criteria. This may include repairs to the plumbing or electrical systems, roof, windows and doors, lead paint, and foundation.  These programs also cover home modification for people with disabilities that want to remain in their home. To be eligible, applicants must be income eligible (80% median income for each county), own and live in the home, or have a mortgage on the home and have homeowners insurance.  They also must live in our service area, which is Adams, Brown, Pike, and Schuyler Counties.

The City of Chicago offers several programs for low-income homeowners. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) receives funds from the City of Chicago, Cook County, and others to provide grants to eligible homeowners to improve the health, safety, affordability, and functionality of their homes. Grants are available for low-to-moderate-income households in targeted areas of Chicago for specific categories of repairs or other needs. 

The Targeted Home Improvement grant covers exterior home repairs to homeowners living in one of the City of Chicago’s 10 MMRP Target Areas or the Woodlawn or North Lawndale Community Areas. These funds are primarily available for exterior home improvements. However, up to one-third of the total granted funds may be used for immediate health and safety-related repairs. These repairs include roof repair or replacement, porch repair or replacement, windows and doors repair or replacement, faulty wiring, non-functioning furnaces or boilers, leaking plumbing, etc. Targeted Home Improvement grants are available to low and moderate-income households earning up to 80% of Area Median Income for the Chicago Metropolitan Area as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Although this program is not currently accepting additional applications, you may apply next year.

The City of Chicago administers a Roof and Porch Repair Program. The Roof and Porch Repair Program provides grants to owner-occupants of 1 to 4-unit residential buildings for improvements to their roof or porch. Households earning up to 80% of area median income may be eligible to participate in the program. Although this program is not currently accepting additional applications, you may apply next year.

The Emergency Heating Repair Program offers a one-time service for roof and porch repair/replacement to households earning 80% or less of the Area Median Income. Exceptions to the one-time assistance policy may be granted to homeowners who face heating emergencies. Eligible properties must be located in Chicago, habitable, owner-occupied, and not at risk of foreclosure.  Open enrollment for the Emergency Heating Repair Program runs from November 1 through April 1.

The HomeMod Program provides accessibility modifications for Chicago residents with disabilities, ages 0-59 years old, with low income. Modifications may include ramps, porch and stairlifts, roll-in showers, widened doorways, accessible sinks, and cabinets. For more information, contact 312-743-5767 or email [email protected]. If you need such funds, apply using the application at the link below:

https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/mopd/hous/general/HomeMod%20Application.pdf.

The Tax Increment Financing-Neighborhood Improvement Program (TIF-NIP) is a Department of Planning and Development (DPD) program that provides home repair grants in eligible TIF districts. The program provides home repair grants for single-family residences (1-4 units). Grants are primarily for exterior repairs, however, up to 30% of the grant may be used for interior repairs that are health and safety-related. Homeowners earning up to 100% of the area median income (AMI) are eligible. If household income is between 100 to 140% of AMI, homeowners must match the grant dollar for dollar.

McHenry County Housing Authority received funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program or CDBG administered by the County of McHenry for the Single-Family Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program to assist low-income homeowners of McHenry County with health, safety, and accessibility issues. To be eligible for this program, you must own and reside in your home and have a household income of no more than 50% of the area median income. Projects that cost under $3,000.00 qualify as no payment, no interest loans that will be forgiven over a five-year recapture period. Projects costing $3001.00 and over qualify as a no payment no interest deferred payment loan that must be paid in full upon the home’s sale.

St. Clair County offers grants, loans, and forgivable loans to assist with home rehabilitation, as well as homebuyer assistance and new home construction. The Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program offers loans available to eligible low to moderate-income persons to rehabilitate single-family owner-occupied homes in participating St. Clair County communities. Financial aid up to $7,000.00 at 2.5 percent interest is available. Their Emergency Repair Program provides funds up to $5,000.00 per household to eligible low-income persons to address any items that threaten the health or safety of the resident. Homes must be single-family owner-occupied properties in participating St. Clair County Communities. Total Gross Household Incomes cannot exceed 50% of the area median income. They also administer the Accessibility Repair Program and provide funds up to $5,000.00 per household to eligible low-income persons to address any items that will allow the resident with physical impairment accessibility to remain in their homes. For more information on these and other programs, residents should call 825-3215. 

Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials is an agency established by intergovernmental agreements between Adams, Brown, Pike, and Schuyler Counties in Illinois. The Community Development Department has programs that will pay for repairs and rehabilitation for the homes of those that meet income criteria. The purpose of these programs is to bring the housing stock up to health and safety standards. This may include repairs to the plumbing or electrical systems, roof, windows and doors, lead paint, and foundation, as well as home modifications to people with disabilities who want to stay in their home. These funds are available to income-eligible homeowners (80% median income for each county), that own and live in the home, or have a mortgage on the home and have homeowners insurance.  They must live in the agency’s service area, which is Adams, Brown, Pike, and Schuyler Counties. You can contact Two Rivers Regional Council at 217-224-8171 for more information about their programs and the eligibility requirement.

The Community Partners For Affordable Housing or CPAH is a non-profit organization that can help your home improvement project in Lake County and Evanston through their Home Repair Grant Program. This program offers up to $40,000.00 to eligible homeowners with a household income of 80% of the Area Median Income. In Lake County, assistance is structured as a 0%-interest forgivable loan with no monthly payments. In Evanston, grant assistance may be structured as a 0%-interest forgivable loan with no monthly payments or a loan, depending on the program. CPAH also partners with Wintrust Financial Corporation to provide loans of up to $20,000 for repairs, accessibility improvements, and other home improvements. Assistance is structured as a 3%-interest loan with monthly payments, payable over a maximum ten-year period. These funds may be used in home repairs such as roof, windows, and doors, heating, and cooling systems, electrical, plumbing, flooring, foundations, structural repairs, etc. 

The City of Evanston offers a Housing Rehabilitation Program which provides financial assistance in the form of below-market-rate loans. The Zero Percent Deferred Loan Program is designed to assist applicants by offering a deferred loan for up to $50,000.00 of rehabilitation for 1 and 2 unit properties as well as $20,000.00 for condominiums. The Zero Percent Amortizing Loan Program, on the other hand, offers zero percent (0%) interest rate loans for up to $50,000.00 of rehabilitation for 1 and 2 unit properties, $20,000.00 for condominiums. Repayment is amortized monthly over a maximum 20-year term, based on affordability. If you are interested in this program, submit the housing rehab pre-application.

https://www.cityofevanston.org/home/showpublisheddocument/63506/637547676124730000

The City of Waukegan Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program office has funding available to assist income-eligible Waukegan residents with rehabilitation to their homes. The programs available include both emergency repairs and substantial rehabilitation. These funds may be used in repairs such as dangerous electric installations, leaking roofs, collapsed sewer lines, inoperative or dangerous furnaces, etc. The Substantial Rehabilitation Program addresses substandard single-family owner-occupied units by bringing the units up to the local building code. If you meet all of the qualifications, you may be approved for a no-interest deferred loan. Repayment after 10 years is reduced anywhere from 25-50%. For more information about this program and its document and eligibility requirements, contact 847-599-2530.

The City of Champaign administers a Minor Home Repair Program, which provides grants and forgivable deferred payment loans to eligible Champaign homeowners to correct housing deficiencies of an immediate nature that threaten the health or safety of the occupants of the home or the structural integrity of the building. Eligible applicants for this program are homeowners with incomes up to 50% of the median family income (or up to 80% for seniors or persons with disabilities). For households between  0-50%  MFI,  Minor  Home  Repair assistance shall not exceed $5,000.00, with the exception of roof repairs, sewer line repairs, and lead hazards which may not exceed $11,000.00.

This city also offers a Full Home Improvement Program that provides forgivable deferred payment loans and installment loans to eligible Champaign homeowners to make repairs to deteriorated single-family dwelling units. Funding will be used to hire contractors to provide labor and materials to make required repairs. Eligible activities include repair or replacement of defective or aging electrical systems, plumbing systems, heating, and air conditioning systems, exterior painting or siding, repairs of roofs, foundations, floors, ceilings, porches, steps, as well as addressing lead hazards present in the home. The maximum amount you may receive through this program is $25,000.00. 

The Residential Exterior Rehabilitation Program provides eligible homeowners a loan or grant for exterior renovation and beautification of single-family properties.  Repairs are limited to visible portions of the home exterior. Funding may be used to hire contractors to provide labor and materials to make required repairs. Eligible repairs include repair or replacement of defective siding and windows, repair or replacement of defective brick or masonry siding, fascia and soffits, foundations, roofs, porches and stairs, installation or repair of defective driveways, wooden fencing, limb and/or tree removal, etc. Residential Exterior Rehabilitation funds will match 50% of a project’s cost up to $10,000.00. The funds are provided in the form of a grant for homeowners with less than 80% MFI and are provided as a full installment 0% interest loan for those making 80-120% MFI.

The City of DeKalb offers financial assistance to its low-income homeowners through its Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program. These funds may be used in repairs including accessibility modifications, electrical systems, plumbing systems, roofs, windows, etc. Only properties within the City of DeKalb corporate limits are eligible for this program with a property value less than $150,000.00, based upon tax assessment. For more information about this program and its document and eligibility requirement,  call 815-748-2366, or apply using the application from the link below:

https://www.cityofdekalb.com/DocumentCenter/View/10986/2020-REHAB-APPLICATION

The Village of Mount Prospect provides the Single Family Loan Rehabilitation Loan Program and Home Weatherization Grant Program to assist qualifying residents to correct code violations,  health or safety hazards, deficiencies in the home, and to complete weatherization improvements. Funds are provided through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, allocated to the village by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Single Family Loan Rehabilitation Loan Program provides an interest-free loan of a maximum loan of $25,000.00 that requires no monthly payments and is paid back upon change of title or sale of the home. Loans can be used to correct code violations, replace old furnaces and water heaters, increase energy efficiency, make improvements for disabled persons, and more. The Home Weatherization Grant Program provides a matching 50% grant up to a maximum of $1,500.00. Grants can be used to install wall, floor, and attic insulation, storm windows and doors, energy-efficient furnaces and water heaters, and more.

Each year, the City of Peoria receives federal entitlement funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in addition to local funds for neighborhood improvement programs and activities. The Roof Program provides funds to low-income households to assist the cost of their roof repair. The Ramp Program provides an ADA-accessible ramp to eligible homeowners. The Emergency Repair Program is one of their programs, that provides replacements for items not functioning that make a home uninhabitable, such as water heater, furnace, or water service. Household income must be at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI).

What are the easiest homeowner grants to get?

The easiest homeowner grants to get are those that have a solid foundation for requesting money, are well-thought-out, have a plan for the future, and are clear and concise in their goals and objectives. To obtain a grant, first, you look for an organization whose goals match what you need to have funded. Second, make sure you meet all the required criteria and you have all the necessary documents. All grants and loans vary by age, income, type, and location. These fundings are primarily available to low-income families, families with children, senior citizens, disabled people, and veterans.

For convenience, search and apply for Illinois home repair grants online. You can start by visiting your local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD office and get informed on the homeownership assistance and improvement programs on the following link:

https://www.hud.gov/states/illinois/community/home.

If you need to connect with resources in your community, but don’t know where to look, 211 Illinois is also a great place to start. Visit their site or call 2-1-1 and get the information you need https://www.illinois211.org/

Keep in mind, there are no “easy” grants to get. There is a reason these funds are only available to people meeting all the required criteria. They are here to help people in need live in homes without code violations and health and safety hazards.

Can I get a grant to renovate my house?

House renovation grants are available to applicants but ONLY if you are in need of an emergency modification in your home to remove life-threatening health or safety conditions, as well as addressing code violations and you meet the required criteria then these funds are available. Very low and low-income people, families with children, single parents, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities are usually eligible to receive these funds. You can also apply for disaster relief grants if your house is damaged by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods. 

For convenience, search and apply for Illinois home repair grants online. You can start by visiting your local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD office and get informed on the homeownership assistance and improvement programs on the following link:

https://www.hud.gov/states/illinois/community/home.

If you need to connect with resources in your community, but don’t know where to look, 211 Illinois is also a great place to start. Visit their site or call 2-1-1 and get the information you need https://www.illinois211.org/

Can I get a grant to repair my roof?

Repairing or replacing roofs is an expensive cost, but leaking and damaged roofs can present a hazard for you and your family. All roofs eventually break down and need replacement, no matter the type of material or how well they were maintained. There are several options in which you can get financial aid from federal and state agencies for a complete or partial replacement and repair.

If you are living in a rural area anywhere in the US, getting help for repairing your home is possible by the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants or Section 504. This program offers 1% interest loans up to $20,000.00 to low-income homeowners and grants up to $7,500.00 to low-income people over 62. Roof repair and replacement is an eligible project for this program. 

The Illinois Housing Development Agency uses funds available through its Affordable Housing Trust Fund and administers programs to assist income-qualified homeowners to rehabilitate homes throughout the state. The Single Family Rehabilitation Program (SFR) with Roof Only Option (SFR-R) provides grants to units of local governments and nonprofit organizations who will assist low-income and very-low-income homeowners with repairs to their homes to remove health and safety hazards by providing funds to replace costly maintenance items. Eligible homeowners may receive up to $45,000.00 in assistance for the rehabilitation of their homes. The city of Peoria also administers a Roof Program that provides funds to low-income households to assist the cost of their roof repair. The City of Chicago administers a Roof and Porch Repair Program. The Roof and Porch Repair Program provides grants to owner-occupants of 1 to 4-unit residential buildings for improvements to their roof or porch. Households earning up to 80% of area median income may be eligible to participate in the program. Although this program is not currently accepting additional applications, you may apply next year. The Single Family Rehabilitation Program (SFR) with Roof Only Option (SFR-R) is a program administered by the Illinois Housing Development Agency, that provides grants to units of local governments and nonprofit organizations who will assist low-income and very-low-income homeowners with repairs to their homes to remove health and safety hazards by providing funds to replace costly maintenance items. Eligible homeowners may receive up to $45,000.00 in assistance for the rehabilitation of their homes.

How do I apply for a federal home repair grant?

There are several places you can find available federal home improvement grants. The United States government has 26 agencies in charge of making grants. In addition to federal grants, some states have their own grant programs. Locate and contact your local government office. Government representatives, there will be able to advise you about eligibility requirements and other necessary criteria for applying for a grant. To search or apply for grants, you can also use the free, official website, Grants.gov. First, you have to register an account on this site. Then, you can search their site for their available grants and submit an application.  

Besides meeting the required criteria and applying within the deadline, it is very important to have all the necessary documents. For example, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD provides all kinds of housing support and helps communities. If you live in a rural area, then you might be interested in The Very Low-Income Housing Repair Program – Section 504. Applicants interested in applying for a repair loan or grant can contact their local Rural Development office and provide the following documentation:

The applications are accepted year-round and their approval time depends on funding availability in your area. 

How does HUD mortgage assistance work?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supports a network of housing counseling agencies throughout the country. These agencies provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. Your options may include a repayment plan, loan modification, short sale, or Deed-In-Lieu of foreclosure. 

The approved housing agencies in Illinois can be found at their site:  

https://apps.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm?searchstate=IL&webListAction=search.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also funds an Emergency Homeowners Loan Program or EHLP, that provides mortgage help and loans to those homeowners who may be facing foreclosure due to a drop in household income from a job loss, underemployment, or reduction in working hours, involuntary unemployment, or a medical condition or emergency. 

To qualify for this program you must fit certain criteria such as:

  • You must be at least three months behind on their monthly mortgage payment,
  • The home involved must be your primary residence,
  • You must have demonstrated a timely payment record on their mortgage prior to the job loss or medical condition or event that produced the reduction of income for the homeowner.

If you are struggling to make your mortgage payment on your FHA-insured mortgage because of the impacts of COVID-19, you might get help from the Special COVID-19 mortgage relief for homeowners with FHA-insured single-family mortgages. Your mortgage servicer is required to offer you a mortgage payment forbearance, which allows you to reduce or pause making payments for a period of six months, with the option to extend for an additional six months if needed. You must request a COVID-19 Forbearance from your mortgage servicer by June 30, 2021, and no extra fees, penalties or interest will be added to your account. If you are able to resume making your payments, FHA’s COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim takes your past due amounts and puts them in a subordinate lien to be repaid later. You will only repay this lien when your mortgage ends, which, for most borrowers, is when you sell your home or refinance your mortgage.

Is the mortgage relief program legit?

Fannie Mae’s HIRO program and Freddie Mac’s Enhanced Relief Refinance or FMERR are the only active relief programs today. They provide mortgage incentives by replacing your existing loan with a new loan that has a lower interest rate and more affordable payments.

Fannie Mae’s HIRO program can be used only by homeowners whose mortgages are currently owned by Fannie Mae. This program allows homeowners to refinance with no equity or an underwater loan. If your home has lost value since you bought it and you don’t have enough equity to do regular refinance, then this is a great option. You can’t apply to this program if you previously used the Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP, which was a similar project by Fannie Mae that expired.

Freddie Mac’s Enhanced Relief Refinance program can be used for existing fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages. This program is intended to refinance into a more sustainable mortgage that promotes long-term homeownership success, to reduce the monthly principal and interest payment of your first Lien Mortgage, as well as if you are interested in potentially reducing principal and interest payment. Freddie Mac’s Enhanced Relief Refinance program is only available to homeowners whose mortgages are currently owned by Freddie Mac.

Is there a grant for rewiring a house?

A home electrical wiring is an expensive cost and you may be eligible for a grant partially or fully covering the cost. There are several options in which you can get financial aid from federal and state agencies for a complete or partial rewiring of your house. Illinois home improvement grants and zero-interest loans are available to low-income homeowners to reduce the cost of their emergency repairs that present safety and health hazards, including problems with the electrical system. These grants are usually administered at a local level by governments and agencies.

The Illinois Housing Development Agency uses funds available through its Affordable Housing Trust Fund and administers programs to assist income-qualified homeowners to rehabilitate homes throughout the state. The Single Family Rehab Program – Round 3 or SFR  will assist low-income and very-low-income homeowners with repairs to their homes and remove health and safety hazards by repairing or replacing costly maintenance items, such as electrical systems. The Illinois Hardest Hit Program, administered by the Community Service Council, also offers three types of financial assistance to Illinois homeowners who have experienced an income reduction of at least 15% due to a qualifying hardship event. Their Health and Safety Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program offers financial aid up to $10,000.00 to assist low to moderate-income owner-occupied households with housing rehabilitation to ensure a safe and hazard-free home.

Every county and city in Illinois offers home improvement programs to low-income homeowners. McHenry County Housing Authority has received funding through the CDBG Program administered by the County of McHenry for the Single-Family Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program to assist low-income homeowners of McHenry County with health, safety, and accessibility issues. St. Clair County administers a Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program and offers financial aid up to $7,000.00 at 2.5 percent interest. Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials is an agency established by intergovernmental agreements between Adams, Brown, Pike, and Schuyler Counties in Illinois. They provide funds to income-eligible homeowners (80% median income for each county) for projects including an electrical system repair or replacement. 

The City of Chicago offers several programs for low-income homeowners. The Roof and Porch Repair Program provides grants to owner-occupants of 1 to 4-unit residential buildings for improvements to their roof or porch. Households earning up to 80% of area median income may be eligible to participate in the program. The City of Champaign administers a Minor Home Repair Program, which provides grants and forgivable deferred payment loans to eligible Champaign homeowners to correct housing deficiencies of an immediate nature. This city also offers a Full Home Improvement Program that provides forgivable deferred payment loans and installment loans to eligible Champaign homeowners to make repairs to deteriorated single-family dwelling units. Eligible activities include the repair or replacement of defective or aging electrical systems.

What is the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program?

The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMA) for Illinois homeowners is a program that provides assistance to homeowners who have a COVID-19-related loss of income and are struggling with mortgage payments. If you are approved for EMA, you will receive a grant of up to $15,000.00 that will be sent to your mortgage servicer to be applied against your mortgage payments. Assistance will cover your past due or forbearance balance and your regular mortgage payments through December 30, 2020, or until your grant is exhausted, whichever comes first. To qualify, your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your 2019 Tax Return had to be at or below 120 percent of the Area Median Income. To be eligible for this program, you must meet certain criteria:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your 2019 Tax Return must be less than the maximum allowed for your area,
  • You, or an adult member of your household, has had a loss of income due to COVID-19 on or after March 1, 2020,
  • Your mortgage was current as of February 29, 2020,
  • You have a past due balance or a forbearance balance that began sometime on or after March 1, 2020,
  • Your mortgage balance is $425,000 or less,
  • Your mortgage is in 1st lien/mortgage position,
  • The property is your primary residence,
  • The property is 1 or 2 units,
  • Your lender must be willing to accept payments,
  • A loan cannot be a reverse mortgage.

What is a request for mortgage assistance?

A Request for Mortgage Assistance or RMA is the application you have to fill out to be considered for a mortgage loan modification. With a mortgage modification, you can permanently change one or more terms of your mortgage loan. This includes getting a lower interest rate, some or all late fees and charges may be waived or reduced, your interest rate may be changed from an adjustable-rate loan to a fixed rate, the months or years the homeowner has to repay the loan may be lengthened, total loan principal may be reduced, as well as your second mortgage or equity loan could be waived.

https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/programs/docs/hamp_borrower/rma_english_sd1110.pdf

This form requires detailed information about the borrower’s current financial situation. The information provided will allow the mortgage lender to determine the filer’s eligibility for mortgage assistance. This form includes your current income, debts, expenses, employment, bankruptcies, and other issues that will help the lender determine if you are eligible for mortgage assistance. 

In the USA, modifications were made under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP.  

To qualify for this program you must have fit certain criteria such as:

  • You are having trouble making your mortgage payments because of financial hardship,
  • You obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009,
  • Your property has not been condemned,
  • You owe up to $728,750.00 on your primary residence or one to four-unit rental property.

Who can get a home improvement grant?

Low and moderate-income families, seniors, veterans, single parents, disabled people, people impacted by Covid 19, as well as people impacted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods can get home improvement grants or zero-interest loans. You can apply to these federal, state, or local grants and loans, charities, community agencies, and nonprofit organizations and get the help you need. A big part of the eligibility to these programs is income. Assistance will usually be provided to families or individuals who are living in occupied single-family homes, or mobile homes and whose combined total household annual income does not exceed certain income thresholds. 

Grant programs are primarily directed at low-income families who might not be approved by a bank for funding. Eligibility requirements vary by the grant. For the most part, grants will have requirements depending on the homeowner’s income, their location, and the projects the money can be used on. To search or apply for grants, use the free, official website, Grants.gov. Determining your eligibility for federal grants is an important first step in the federal grant application process. 

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