Lehigh County, PA: Up to $50K for Home Repairs

The Lehigh County Board of Commissioners has announced plans to apply for a grant through the American Rescue Plan Act Whole-Home Repairs Program. The grant, which is being offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, has the potential to provide the county with $2.7 million in funding. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Lehigh County has around 170,000 households, with an estimated 25% of them being classified as low-income. The grant aims to assist these homeowners, who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to make necessary repairs to their homes.

Once the grant is received, funds will be made available for low- to moderate-income homeowners to apply for up to $50,000 per property for repairs that address habitability concerns, improve energy or water efficiency, or make units accessible for individuals with disabilities. Eligible homeowners must have a household income that does not exceed 80% of the area median income, which for Lehigh County is $65,950 for a family of four. Furthermore, small landlords renting affordable units may also be eligible for loans, which may be secured with a mortgage recorded against the residential property, and with some provisions for loan forgiveness.

The grant will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and homeowners are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Based on the allocation of funds, it is estimated that around 108 low-income households in Lehigh County will be able to receive assistance from this program. The application process will require documentation of income, home ownership, and a detailed description of the repairs needed.

The Chairman of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, Geoff Brace, acknowledged that the grant funds will be limited and in high demand, and he hopes that the program will receive more funding in the future to meet the needs of the community. He urged homeowners who are in need of home repairs to apply and take advantage of this opportunity. Brace said “There are a lot of aged houses in Lehigh County, and it’s worth having our expectations in check. The money that is coming from the state is going to be very competitive and limited, and I know there are a lot of high hopes for this program.” He also noted that the county will work closely with the state to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible for homeowners, adding that he hopes the commonwealth will fund the program to a greater extent in the future.

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