My House is Falling Apart

My husband died in 1999, and he left me a 80 year old home. The floors are caving in, and the walls are busted. The roof is falling in and it's raining in the house and all I can do is pray. I've tried fixing it myself but all I can do is live in it because I have no where else to go. Can you please give me some advise?


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Try calling local housing authorities, women's centers, senior centers and churches in your area. You may be able to piecemeal enough grants and/or volunteer labor to make your home more livable.

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Try contacting the Habitat for Humanity in your area.

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My husband just turned 65 and I will be 60 in September. We've made one the smartest decisions in our life. We just sold our home and will be moving into a 2-bedroom apartment. My husband told me that if he died suddenly, he didn't want me to have to deal with this house by myself.

The best advice I can give you is to list your house with a realtor. Start searching on the internet for an afforable apartment. My husband and I found out that there are quite a number of apartments for senior citizens and the monthly rent is determined by your income.

I found our 2-bedroom apartment on

PS I received a peculiar email yesterday, maybe the poster thought that my husband passed away. MY HUSBAND IS WELL AND ALIVE!

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If after trying to obtain help for your home through some of the recommendations already given, you feel your house is still a maintenance and financial burden - then sell it for whatever it is truly worth on the market. Take your equity and buy a home you can pay for in full that is in good shape. You will probably be downsizing by doing this, but it sounds like you are overwhelmed with the house and this may be a good solution for you. You might also consider buying a condo, or townhouse that is part of an association where they are responsible for the outside maintenance of your new home and yard care.

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Call OACAC. They are amazing with their help for people who have lower incomes.

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Check out "Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit with a network of nearly 225 affiliates across the United States. Our mission is to preserve affordable housing by bringing volunteers and communities together to rehabilitate the homes of low-income homeowners."

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If you own your home or have equity in it you can get a "Reverse Mortgage". You do not have to pay this back. They take your home when you pass on to the next life to pay for the Reverse Mortgage. But while your're here on this earth in your physical body they will give you a down payment on your home (probably enough to at least fix the important things) and they will also pay you a certain amount per month towards the eventual purchase of your home. You'll need to find an honest Reverse Mortgage company as some will & some wont be good to do business with. Talk to your local bank first... not to someone who advertises on the TV or radio.

* ALSO: make sure this extra cash won't interfere with your social security or other monthly income!

---> But FIRST before you even THINK about doing this, first call some local churches, as there are MANY who help people just like you at no cost.... My husband used to volunteer to fix up older people's homes when our church sponsored these events. Don't be embarrassed to call as these guys actually enjoy helping others (as it should be!) Just get out your local phone book & look up churches & synagogues in the yellow pages & start calling & leaving messages on their answering machines. They WILL call you back... & you'll no doubt meet some pretty nice people at the same time!

---> One more idea is the "Energy Fund" people: Call your power company & ask if they know about a program that helps people of low income winterize their houses & mobile homes. They come in & fix any leaks that let in the cold air & let out the home's heat... This is a way to conserve our resources, but they will also fix your roof & do other things that will help you save money! ... Just call the company that provides you with electricity or gas. They should know about any helpful programs.

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The local churches in my area have something called "River of Life" that helps people in need with home repairs, etc. Contact the local churches in your area. If they can't help, they may be able to suggest some other source. Good Luck and God Bless!

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Do you have a college nearby that has a building construction department? If so, they would do the labor for free. A high school or trade school also usually has departments that would love hands-on experience and only cost you materials.

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Call your local city hall and ask for suggestions. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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Don't do the reverse mortgage! They will take your home. It's totally not worth it, especially since there are so many resources out there to help people. You just have to know where to look.

In my area we have something called the Time Dollar Network, basically people exchanging skills and services for each other. You could volunteer to walk someones dog and earn time dollars. You can in turn spend these to hire someone to do work on your house.

You may want to browse craigslist too. You might be able to find free supplies or people with skills looking for side jobs.

Here's another idea- Do you have an extra bedroom? Get a housemate! Use the extra money to remodel.

Best of luck! Think positive!

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IF you are rural use this link: It is about low interest to no interest loans and grants for those who live in rural areas to maintain their houses. Depending on your age you may not have to repay.

IF you are urban call Hud. Also was your husband a vet? IF so call the VA. Ask them about his VA Loan status and if they can help in any way. I got these by googling Rural grants low income home and Urban grants low income home. If you use those search terms in google they will give you more information. is the Federal site for weatherization. It includes all of the US and gives directory advice to local programs. If you call these programs they can also assist in locating help for other repairs. They will come and weatherize your home which will help save you money.

IF you are 65 or over call your local assistance office and ask them for the number for Area On Aging [I am not sure that is what it is called all over the USA but it is in our area] They will help you also find help. If not ask the local assistance office for help finding sources for low income housing repair. They will help. But to get this you need to get on the phone and start calling. They won't come to you but they will help once you contact them.

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Also try your local Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts (2 totally separate, yet great organizations that do community projects to earn badges. Here in Colorado Springs, the Boy Scouts did lawn aeration simply for a donation and they also did some landscaping work at a few of our public schools).

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Oh, also try calling your local Silver Key, Shriners, and Elks Lodge to see if they have resources available. Also your local United Way Chapter has resource lists that they can give you. I know here in Colorado, you can dial 211 and be connected to the local United Way. Maybe it is the same for you there where you live....Hope some/all of the suggestions here help. Please keep us posted on how things are coming along for you, Denise...We all do care very much.

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Obtain a reverse mortgage, look for information on internet.

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In This Article
A repair man fixing a leaky roof.
Finding Home Repair Help for Low Income Families
Home and Garden Home Improvement AdviceApril 23, 2008
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