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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, 20144 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, 20143 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
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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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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, 20132 found this helpful
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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
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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
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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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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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August 20, 20140 found this helpful
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All the answers are good ones. You didn't mention where you live. Here in Salem OR, we have an energy assistance program. If you have one in your town, it's a good place to start.

The windows can be replaced fairly cheap. But in the mean time, get some low cost plastic at the local Walmart. It's in 5' wide rolls and you cut off as much as you need, so a yard (aprx. 2.97 per yard) would be 15 square feet. Cut some about 3" larger around and fold it over one, stapling or thumb tacking to the frame if it is wood, to the wall if it is metal. You can also tape it with good quality clear tape. The plastic can be purchased in mil' thickness, so the higher the number the thicker the plastic.

The vents are away from the floor? Get some foam from the local hardware store, and when you go in tell the employee what you are doing with it and they will be able to help.

If you live in a mobile home, your belly board, the band of metal sheathing that holds your floor insulation in place, might be gone or damaged by critters. See if that can be replaced by a friend/church member, etc. Then, if you can't afford insulation, see if someone can donate some baled hay. I know it sounds funny, but if you line the underside of the mobile with that, then put the skirting back on, you will be amazed at how much that helps.

Simple things like expanding foam insulation around pipe openings, exterior cracks in the walls, and such can keep your heating costs down. Go to a local thrift shop and get 2 or three radiant heaters. See the photos enclosed. They run on circulated oil, so they are never a fire hazard and can be used when your furnace isn't working. They are on wheels so easily move from living room to bedroom, but I find they are cheap enough used to have 2 or 3. I find them for 15.00 in most places, and brand new, they are only 30.00.

Here in Salem, if you are Native American, there is no waiting list. It might be the same in your state.

I wish you luck and I hope these tips have helped.
PBP

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September 28, 20141 found this helpful
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If you have Medicaid call the phone number on the back of your card. They provide transportation to most medical appointments especially if they are in a different county than you live. If you could save the gasoline cost that would be plenty to buy a pane of glass and glazing compound to install it.

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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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March 21, 20150 found this helpful
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Many people have problems in their homes and need help for plumbing, construction, electric, general repair or to rebuild homes due to fire, flood and other problems that they are not able to afford. Unfortunately, there are no federal, state, county, etc., government agencies that help people needing home repairs in any state.

In some areas there may be volunteer, nonprofit, and other entities that might have the resources to help, however, these are usually difficult to find as there is no consolidated center to apply. Also, they may not be active all year, may not receive needed funding and have shut down, etc. You can try researching resources online and contact private and religious entities who may be able to help or suggest other possible resources. Good Luck!

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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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December 22, 20140 found this helpful
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Re Rent-To-Own-Whether you have signed an agreement or not with your landlord, you do not own the house and are not responsible for wiring problems unless you caused them. You only own the house at the end of the period you are paying and after you sign actual ownership papers.

You should contact your landlord and request he/she fix the wiring problems. If they do not fix the wiring, you may need to consult an attorney.

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December 22, 20140 found this helpful
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If you signed an actual agreement with your landlord, if should have addressed exactly who is responsible for repairs, electrical, etc. If the agreement does not specifically state who is responsible for what, then the landlord should be responsible for the electric wiring and any other repairs, as well.

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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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July 21, 20140 found this helpful
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Is there something you could "barter" for the repairs. Some areas have groups that use the old "barter" system for payment. You could babysit, cook, sew, tutor, etc. Look for these groups or maybe post an ad on Craigs List. I have been using the computer to learn how to do repairs. You tube has detailed videos. Good Luck.

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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 29, 20140 found this helpful
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I was also going to suggest the church also. I am sure there are Christians there that will help you, and if there are able-bodied people living there they can help with the repairs. Sometimes people just don't know how to make the repairs and they fear making it worse, or starting and not being able to finish them. Also, the cost of materials is prohibitive. We have a place here in Pittsburgh and it's called Construction Junction. They have everything there, very reasonably priced. I am sure if you contact your area on aging, and the social agencies in the blue pages of the phone book, you will find help. And you'll probably learn so much!

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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 5, 20140 found this helpful
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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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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 27, 20140 found this helpful
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Most county and/or city governments have low-income help for people below a certain level of income where they will do emergency repair for you with little cost or interest, if any. Check with them first.

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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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October 8, 20140 found this helpful
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If there is a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, they may be able to provide help with the repairs.
http://www.habitat.org/local

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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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August 7, 20140 found this helpful
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If she is on disability she may be able to sell her house and get into a government subsidized, section 8 apartment. Depending on how much money she gets out of the house she may not quality though. She may not want to sell her house but you need to try to convince her that she doesn't have much of a choice because it's only going to get worse. I doubt she will be able to find anyone who would donate their time and money to fix her repairs.

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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 tiffanysmith3095

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March 29, 20140 found this helpful
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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's 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. She has always wanted, her dream house.

By Lavonnda

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November 20, 20130 found this helpful
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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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