Low-Income Homeowners in Quincy, Macomb to Receive Support from Illinois Housing Development Authority
In a significant move to help low-income homeowners maintain and upgrade their homes, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has announced the launch of the Home Repair and Accessibility Program (HRAP). This initiative is structured to assist financially disadvantaged homeowners undertake essential repairs to enhance health, safety, accessibility, and energy efficiency within their homes.
The HRAP initiative is equipped with a budget of $15.3 million, which will be used to preserve existing affordable housing structures, stimulate investments in historically underserved communities, improve the health and comfort of occupants, and help residents with disabilities continue living in their own homes and communities. Homeowners who meet the eligibility criteria can avail up to $45,000 through a five-year forgivable loan to conduct necessary repairs.
Governor JB Pritzker expressed his views on the initiative, “The mission of this $15.3 million home improvement grant program is to make safe and accessible housing a reality for every Illinoisan, regardless of their financial situation or geographical location. This initiative not only empowers low-income and disabled residents of Illinois to continue living in their homes but also contributes towards the development of communities that have been sidelined for far too long.”
Administered locally, HRAP will be managed by 36 local government bodies and nonprofit organizations that have proven expertise in overseeing homeowner rehabilitation assistance programs. To be eligible for this program, homeowners’ income must be at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income based on their household size. They must be current on their mortgage payments, and the property should be a single-family dwelling.
City of Rockford Mayor Thomas McNamara encouraged potential beneficiaries to take advantage of this program, “If your house requires urgent repairs, or if you need modifications to make your home more accessible, HRAP could be the solution. If you are a resident of Winnebago County, please do not delay and apply today. The City of Rockford is administering HRAP for our local residents. This assistance is completely free and does not require repayment.”
For properties to be considered owner-occupied, the dwelling must serve as the homeowner’s primary residence. Mobile homes that are permanently affixed are acceptable if the homeowner owns the land beneath the mobile home and they can record the IHDA mortgage against the property. Rental properties can also make use of this program to upgrade accessibility. Detailed information on eligibility criteria and administering agencies can be found on the IHDA website.
IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust emphasized the importance of the program, stating, “Our low-income and aging populations deserve to live in homes that are healthy, stable, and safe. Illinois homeowners who have been postponing crucial repairs due to financial constraints are encouraged to apply for assistance through HRAP.”
The properties eligible for rehabilitation must have documented health and safety issues such as mechanical, electrical, structural or plumbing issues. Those qualifying for accessibility upgrades should require improvements to aid an occupant with a disability or mobility impairment. An exclusive “roof only” option is also available, wherein eligible homeowners may receive up to $21,500 as a three-year, forgivable loan.
Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) President Rob Anthony encouraged eligible homeowners to utilize this opportunity, “HRAP will provide up to $45,000 to aid in fixing your home and ensuring you can stay in your community, surrounded by loved ones. If you are in Lake or Cook County, reach out to CPAH to explore how we can help.”
The HRAP initiative, created in 2022, is the result of the merging of the Single-Family Rehabilitation and the Home Accessibility Programs. It is funded through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which derives its financial resources from a portion of Illinois’ receipts of real estate transfer taxes.
Will County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Nicole Murray addressed the importance of this initiative, “Rehabilitation is essential as our housing infrastructure ages. HRAP is a critical initiative that enables low-income homeowners and renters, particularly seniors and people with disabilities, to continue living safely in the homes they have cherished for years.”
Households interested in applying for HRAP grants can contact one of the funded organizations serving their community. More information on eligibility criteria and the application process is available on the IHDA website. Households living in areas not currently served by HRAP are advised to reach out to a HUD-certified housing counseling agency to explore other possible options.