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Finding Home Repair Help for Low Income Families

Category Miscellaneous
There are times when household repairs just can not wait until you have the money to complete the project. This guide is about finding home repair help for low income families.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 1, 20145 found this helpful

I am looking for help for my best friend and his mom. His mom is on disability and he is unable to work because he stays home to take care of her. They have a lot of incomplete home projects and the house is almost unlivable. There is no heat, no working stove pipes, they are old, and hot water barely works. I'm trying to seek help for them.

By Sabrina

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January 1, 20142 found this helpful
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If they are low income, there is a possibility that they could get help from a state/government organization. It goes by different names in different locations. Here in SD, in some of the towns it is called Opportunities for Independent Living(OIL), the town where I live it is called Independent Living Center. There is also an organization called Adult Services for Aging, their office is usually connected with the Department of Social Services (Welfare Office.)

This mother and son might be better off, if they could get a care giver to go into the home and care for the mother, so the son can work. I do know of several people here in SD that have had home repairs made by the first two organizations I mentioned. Some of these repairs have been in the $10,000 price range.

The only drawback is the people have to stay in the home for a certain number of years afterwards or pay back a certain amount of the cost of repairs. I assume the family has a social worker through the Department of Social Services, that would be the person to talk to about home repairs. That being said sometimes it is time to sell your home as is for whatever you can get and move into an apartment.

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January 3, 20140 found this helpful
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There is most likely an energy assistance program close. We don't know where you live so it's hard to do any research. Here in Salem, OR we have this agency. They do fix ups on even mobile homes, but it sometimes means a wait.
If they are members of a local church, sometimes that is the fastest and easiest resource to get help. Try Habitat for Humanity not for a new home but for resources they have. Craigslist might help too, just because people often know of a need and they just come and help. If all else fails, perhaps a rental would be a nice new start. I hope these have helped.
PBP

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By 1 found this helpful
January 5, 2011

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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January 5, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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June 3, 20131 found this helpful

My name is Pam. My husband, Jackie has renal cell carcinoma and has had brain surgery, both lower lobes of lungs removed and a kidney removed. Our house is falling apart and roach infested. We have custody of our 10 year old granddaughter and barely getting by. My parents live next door, but they are 88 and 85 and I help with them also. I'm 57 and in desperate need of help. We have no where to turn. Please help or advise me on finding help with repairs, if possible. Thank you.

By Pamela from Clarkton, MO

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June 5, 20130 found this helpful

I Will keep you in my prayers, Maybe you could check to see if there is a Shepherds Hand in your community. They help with seniors who need work on their homes. If not, check with your Chamber in your city to see if there are any org. who do things like that. Check with habitat groups too. Check with churches, some of them help with needs such as yours. I best wishes to you and yours, I hope that was helpful.

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June 5, 20130 found this helpful

It sure seems that you have had your share of problems.
I believe you should first try to get all of the assistance that you are entitled to in your state/county. Try and find someone who can help you with applying for money and food stamps. My church has a "person" who does this sort of thing so I am sure other churches do also. The Salvation Army may help with this also.

Help getting house repairs will be more difficult but some of the same places that help with getting assistance may be able to help you find help in this area also.

I do not know what sort of mortgage, etc that you and your parents have, but If you, your husband, your granddaughter and your parents are receiving all of the assistance you are entitled to then you should not just be "getting by". Of course, I can only speak for Florida but I am sure a lot of states are the same (or better?). You will not be able to buy many extras but I hope you would have a better life.

You will have to do your own "leg work" and find someone to help you as people on this site can only offer information, advise and prayers.

A good place to start is your church or your closest church (denomination does not matter) and go from there - just do not get discouraged as help may be just around the corner.

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June 5, 20130 found this helpful

Have you contacted the American Cancer Society?

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June 5, 20130 found this helpful

http://www.mhdc … s/hero/index.htm

this url is for help with home repairs for low-income people in Missouri

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December 11, 20131 found this helpful

My mom has entered a nursing home in Glenora, California and she left me her house. I'm not working at the moment. This house is very old, and needs a lot of repairs. I'm just about to get citations from the city of San Gabriel, and also have the health department after me. Can anyone help me please?

By Daniel R.

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December 11, 20130 found this helpful

Where I live the Homebuilder's Association does minor repairs on homes, usually for seniors/low income/disabled. They use donated materials. If you could obtain the required materials do you have any friends/relatives that could provide the labor? The time might be right to sell it as is and move into an apartment. Speak to your pastor and see if he/she knows of any available help or sometimes they might be willing to take up an anonymous offering to help a needy member of the congregation. Also if you have a social worker with the Department of Social Services speak to that person, they might know of some help. However, that being said, needed repairs should be made as needed, not waiting until several repairs that will cost tons of money.

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December 13, 20130 found this helpful

hi - redhatterb gave an excellent answer so the only thing I can add is try some of your "local" web site like Craigslist as they have sections for questions like this.

Try to think "out of the box" to look for some help but most of your "help" is going be your own.

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March 20, 20150 found this helpful

I live in San Lorenzo, California. I am looking for some type of help to fix up the house I am living in. It is not mine, it is my fiance's grandmother's. She is 81 years old and lives here as well. I have a 3 year old and one on the way and I cannot stand the thought of us living in this house anymore, but we have no where else to go.

The biggest problems are: we have are cockroaches, rats, mice, mold, and termites. Also, the pipes are so bad that the walls shake and the smell that comes from them is so bad it smells like something died. There are many other problems with this house, but those are the important ones. I wish I could just pack up and leave, but unfortunately that is not an option. Is there any way we can get help to take care of these problems? As it is we barely have enough money to pay for bills and buy food. These problems are only going to get worse if we don't find a way to fix them. Thank you.

By Danielle R.

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August 19, 20140 found this helpful

Is there any help for people who need work done on their home, but can't afford it? Two windows are broken. I have tape on them. The front has cracks and rain and cold air blow through. Front window leaks when it rains. Heating ducks are away from floor, so some heat blows on the ground. Our heater some times doesn't work.

Where we live there is no help for us, because they say my husband works. Yes, but not enough to pay bills, buy food, and fix our home. I have to go back and forth to the doctors and that takes gas. It costs us 80.00 a week in gas, but they don't count that. Is there help somewhere?

By Barb L.

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July 20, 20140 found this helpful

My husband and I were handed my family home after a few years of my great grandmothers passing. We were struggling to pay rent and bills. As far as we knew the home was in decent condition with only minor repairs to be done.

As we soon discovered, after putting what money we had into it, there was more to be done than we could afford. We had to move in with family after draining all our money into repairs. We had no way to get another rental.

We own this home and it does mean a lot to me I grew up there but more immportantly its our only home to live in. Staying with family and friends with 3 kids is just not possible for much longer.

My question is is there any resources possibly out there to help us. We have had people breaking in constantly and numerous people in there and just damaging it more and more we have changed the locks dozens of times and screwed all the windows shut, but that hasn't stopped them from breaking the glass. Please can someone help?

By M.R.

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April 26, 20140 found this helpful

My dad has kidney failure. We're a small family of 5; including me, my sister, and brother. Dad has no job as he is on dialysis. Mom is working to make ends meet and I have my own debts and two kids. My brother and sister make minimum wage and the house is falling apart. Is there any organization that can help?

By Yolanda

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April 26, 20140 found this helpful

There is one organization that I know of that is nationwide, and will help senior citizens and people that are actually disabled. They have different names in different states and even in different cities in the same state. Where I live most people think of it as being Opportunities for Independent Living (OIL.) If your parents have a Social Worker/Welfare Worker through the Department of Social Services/Welfare Office, that person should know about this organization. I think there is a maximum amount that they will pay out for each family.

Also if for some reason the people receiving help from the organization have to move out of the house, they have to pay back for the help, on a pro-rated basis. That being said, if you and your siblings are living at home and working, you should be paying rent to your parents. I have adult grandchildren that are working and living with their mother and they each pay half of their pay checks to their mother as rent for their rooms, the electricity that you use, water, heat, etc., plus food. If they didn't pay their fair share, they wouldn't be living at home. It is actually cheaper for them to live at home than to have their own places.

I don't feel real sorry for anybody that makes minimum wage. I am 74 years old and live off $710 a month in retirement Social Security. Figure that out and see how much below minimum wage that is. I'm sure if all of you are as hard up as you think, you are getting some social benefits.

You could also talk to your pastor about this, sometimes they will take up a special offering for a needy member of the congregation, and there might be members of the congregation that can do the labor and maybe even some that can volunteer to donate the needed repair materials. One other thing, repairs should be made as needed, not waited until a whole bunch of them need to be done at one time.

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March 4, 20140 found this helpful

My father bought a burned down property across the street about 4 years ago. He told me recently that if my wife and I wanted the property, we could buy it for the $1,000.00 he paid for it. It sits on 3/4 acre. Everything is burned down except the bricks and 20% of the frame. My wife and I would love to rebuild this house, and make it our home. Any suggestions on any grants for our situation?

By Terry from Webb, MS

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March 4, 20140 found this helpful

Contact Ellen Degeneres via email/ website. I know it sound far fetched... but she is always helping out in various situations. Besides the worst she can say is no! Good luck!

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March 5, 20140 found this helpful

For grant information, I would contact your local community development office. There is an FHA loan called 203K that will finance purchase and rehab on a property for owner-occupants.

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March 5, 20140 found this helpful

I don't know about grants. Aren't those taxpayer funds? It doesn't seem right for taxpayers to pay for someone else to build a home when they are paying off loans on their own homes. However, there are loans available to build homes. You are paying an excellent, low price for the land, which means that you don't have to take out a loan for that. You can contact local builders/contractors; they often either have their own financing or they can recommend some.

Contact your local credit union as well. They probably have a great low-interest loan program. You don't have to be a member now; you can join then apply for the loan. I'd stay away from banks though; they are not the best place to get mortgage loans.

If you are allowed to put a mobile on the property (you may not be; you'll have to check), you can get fabulous manufactured homes for a fraction of the cost of a site-built home. Financing is available on those as well.

You could use the bricks for all kinds of things: a brick wall/fireplace in the living room; a brick patio/walkway; a brick wall to set off a garden; the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

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March 22, 20140 found this helpful

There's a website called, "go fund me", maybe you could hit up your facebook community or something.

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December 22, 20140 found this helpful

I am 62 and all my electrical is going out, including my overhead lights, ceiling fan, and a few plug ins. I only get Social Security ad cannot afford to pay too much. I am scared about fire. I am not sure if the landlord should fix it or me. I am buying a "rent to to own" home. I have been here for 5 yrs.

By Sharon from Fairmont, WV

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October 23, 20140 found this helpful

We need a new roof asap. My house insurance canceled us because we need a new roof. We are having financial difficulties; we are raising our grandchildren and funds are just not there. We are a deserving family who never gets assistance.

By D

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October 3, 20140 found this helpful

How can we get help with repairs? We are both on disability and do not have money to get things fixed.

By Beverly

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August 6, 20140 found this helpful

I have a friend whose house needs complete remodeling, roof, plumbing, dry wall, etc. I feel that her home is not a safe place. She is on disability and she is not physically or financially capable of doing any of the work. She has no family to call on.

By Wendy

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By 0 found this helpful
March 28, 2014

I am on Social Security Disability, I had signed up for a home improvement grant 6 years ago with my Neighborhood Community Development Association. I just received a notice in the mail stating that if I had a bankruptcy that was not discharged that I would no longer be eligible for the home repair grant. I signed up for the grant in 2008 of March. I have been waiting for this grant for almost 6 years, I had to file for a bankruptcy 2 years ago because my husband lost his job. I was also told that I couldn't put in another application until my bankruptcy has been discharged for a full year. Does this mean that I have to wait another six years just for me to be the next one on the list? Or can someone tell me if I can contact a government official on this matter?

By Tiffany

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March 29, 20140 found this helpful

I don't know what you mean when you say a Home Improvement Grant, unless it is similar to what we have in SD, that is government funded. Here what we have is basically called Opportunities for Independent Living and it has different names in different parts of the state.

What this program does is make much needed, serious home repairs and modifications, like for a person that can no longer get in and out of a bath tub, they will take the tub out and put in a roll in shower. It also is based on income, what some people consider low income, might not actually be low. If you do receive the help, you have to stay in the home for a certain number of years or else pay it back on a pro-rated basis.

I have a sister who had her house repaired through this program and then she ended up having to go into a nursing home, and when her house was sold, she had to pay it back on the pro-rated basis. My guess is when you were contacted about the bankruptcy, it is because some people end up losing their homes in the bankruptcy proceedings.

When you are approved you have to wait until they can find the people to do the work, because they don't have actual carpenter type people on their payroll, they have to find the repair people that have time to do the work at lower cost. I have never heard of anybody having to wait more than a few months, once approved to have the work done, so I don't think you are referring to the same thing.

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March 29, 20140 found this helpful

I think you would be better advised to contact someone in the community organization you referred to in your question. They would be the only ones who can answer your question.

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March 29, 20140 found this helpful

You will have to contact the association that you are applying to for answers to your questions.
All states and counties have different rules and regulations for this sort of thing.

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November 18, 20130 found this helpful

I need help with my mom's house, it falling apart. She can't afford to have it fixed. She lets me and my kids stay here and I want to give her something back that she always wanted, her dream house.

By Lavonnda

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November 18, 20130 found this helpful

If you can find free or cheap repair work, that doesn't include making the house into a dream home. If you haven't been able to maintain it in decent condition, it has never been much of a dream house. Buildings require yearly or more maintenance.

I don't know of any organizations that help with repairs. You could check with habitat for humanity, but where I live they only build houses. Your mother must have some income, either retirement Social Security, disability, or pension. I assume you are working.

There is an organization that will help elderly disabled people with some stuff like that, but you either have to qualify because of age or disability AND income wise. It has different names in different towns. In the state where I live I know of two different names in two different towns. If you have a social worker with the Department of Social Services talk to them and see if they know of any organization that can help with home repairs.

Several years ago my sister had them repair her roof, and they put in a couple new windows for her and a new door. In the town my sister lives in it is called Opportunities for Independent Living. If they help a person, the person has to stay in the house for a certain period of time or pay back on a pro-rated basis. Also talk to your pastor, they might know of people that can help you too.

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November 20, 20130 found this helpful

The previous answer is very good.I was just wondering how much you and your children could do yourselves.That would be a great gift of thanks to your mother for letting you stay with her. Major repairs no, but there is a lot that can be done by paint and cleaning. "Oops" paint comes very cheap from paint stores, that can be used for walls, furniture, lots of things to brighten them up. I have used enamel for old vinyl floors that worked very well (just be sure very clean before and thoroughly dry after before use, still good 15 years later!) and thrift stores are also good for curtains etc. Put your own hands to it to brighten things up and the other will follow.

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November 20, 20130 found this helpful

I agree with Eggz about painting vinyl floors. When I was kid my late mother painted our living room, dining room and kitchen vinyl several times because we could never afford new. My mother did it on her hands and knees.

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