Finding Home Repair Help for People on Fixed Low Incomes

My mom and dad live on a very strict social security budget. Their floors in their small home are falling down, the pipes are old and run. They need some help really badly. They can't afford much and I can help work, but not much money to pay out for someone to repair their home. Any help that they can get would be very welcome. They are 80 and 81 years old. Is there any help available for them?

By Sharon from Paris, KY

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I think there is a federal program, that is called different things in different communities. In some places it is called Opportunities for Independent Living. They have a limited amount of money each year. I know people that had $10,000 worth of work done on their house and that increased the value of the house, therefore increasing the taxes on it by a significant amount. Maybe your folks would be better off selling their home for whatever they could get for it and getting into a HUD subsidized apartment. The rent for them is figured at 30% of a person's income, and in SD the rent includes everything, but electricity, phone, cable, and internet. Heat, water, sewer, and garbage is included in the rent. They also wouldn't have to worry about property taxes or whatever they are called where you live. Contact your Department of Social Services and see what you can find out about the organization that I mentioned. I don't know what it would be listed under in your phone book. Here in SD the organization is called Opportunities for Independent Living and in the town I live in it is called The Prairie Freedom Center. The organization finds their own repair people, and here the repair people only work when they feel like it.

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There is a great group called "Christmas in April" that does just what you describe. Unfortunately, it appears there's not a group in your area. You still might want to go to to learn more about it. Good luck!

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Wow! That was a lot of good advice "redhatterb" gave, but she is most correct in that so many of these programs are known with different names in different areas of the country, and it is indeed difficult to find out what is available in a specific community.

Beyond "redhatterb's" suggestions, 4 (four) local places to ask questions are: 1) Your parent's city hall or the county offices where their property is located; 2) The closest public library or state public library, regional headquarters Community Information references; 3) An area Chamber of Commerce and, 4) Local (to your parents) churches and charitable organizations as they might be able to recommend or help you find other sources to pursue.

Bless you for looking out for your elderly parents. Best wishes for all!

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I should also add you should contact your local Home Builder's Assoc. The town that I live in that Association does minor home repairs with donated supplies for a couple days every spring. Here I think most of what they do is build ramps for people in wheel chairs, and very minor repairs, but I'm not sure about that.

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I would check with your local council on aging & I have also found my local gov't reps on the city level very helpful.

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We have a group here in Phoenix called Angels On Call, they are associated with Stardust Building Supplies who do 'deconstructing' for razing and remodeling projects and sell the reclaimed materials to fund Angels On Call.

I wonder if Habitat For Humanity could help.


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Call 211 . It is a nationwide number for finding assistance. When they answer, explain what help is needed and be sure to let them know it is for a senior. You will be given info on who to contact closest to you. I am concerned if their home is as bad as you have described that it will be considered unlivable.

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I volunteer for a national charity called Love,INC. We do exactly what you are asking for! Here's a link to the website with locations in each state. Call the one closest to your parents. They'll be happy to help!

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My friend's partner was diagnosed with a brain tumour on Christmas eve. She had to leave work to look after him. He has had it removed, but has lost movement on his right side. They were part way through some house improvements. They have wires hanging from the ceiling in their bathroom, they currently have no income as the job centre has messed up their claim. They have had a flood in the living room ruining their wood flooring, the cat turned the grill on and there is smoke damage in the kitchen. Their luck is dreadful and they need help. What can I apply for, to nominate them?

By louise

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Are they in council or other social housing? If so, the council or authority may have funds to help.

As a brain tumour is usually a cancer, the wonderful cancer charities might also be a source of assistance, try looking into MacMillian Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK. Both sites offer resources, links to other organisations, and forums for carers and patients-it may be one of those forums will provide a place for your friends to find some help getting their reno finished, and will certainly help with emotional support during this extremely difficult time.

Is your friend registered as a carer? Carers get an allowance once registered and the income can be quite helpful making ends meet.

The couple might consider a free listing on their local GumTree asking for help, too. You would be surprised how many joiners and builders are willing to volunteer their time to help people who've hit a rough patch.

I'm in Scotland; your post doesn't say where in the UK your friends are, and resource links are different between Scotland and the rest of the UK which is why I'm not posting any links. Run a search using the term 'carer benefits (and the name of your county or country), for example: "carer benefits scotland" and "free renovation assistance scotland" to try bringing up some links in your search engine.

Good luck to you in your search and to your friends!

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In This Article
A repair man fixing a leaky roof.
Finding Home Repair Help for Low Income Families
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