by Aidan Kang, CFA
Senior Writer
UPDATED: April 30, 2022

You need to address some serious structural issues in your home, but your household doesn’t have the income or savings to pay for repairs right now. Sure, you can take out a loan. However, you might not have enough income to cover the monthly amortization.

Don’t worry if you find yourself in a similar situation. Financial constraints shouldn’t prevent you from getting a safe, secure living space for your family.

We reviewed various government-owned and private organizations focused on providing free home renovation programs. Our team will explain everything you need to prepare.

This article should give you a decent starting point in contacting charities that help with home repairs.

Stick with us until the end. Otherwise, you put yourself in an even tighter financial situation just to address home repairs.

Some of the most widely known government and non-government organizations that provide free grants for homeowners include: 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity typically focuses on low-cost housing options for low-income families, but homeowners can also reach out to them for crucial repairs. 

The organization also utilizes volunteers and donated materials to minimize expenses.

Qualification Requirements

The organization doesn’t have super-specific requirements, but it often partners with low-income homeowners. You must demonstrate an urgent need for safer housing.

Home Repairs Covered

Habitat for Humanity covers basic repairs like landscaping, painting, and weatherization. Generally, you can submit a request for any interior or exterior job focused on preserving your home’s lifespan and durability.

Estimated Grant

The organization focuses on executing repairs, not funding them. It utilizes its volunteers and donated materials to repair multiple homes without going over the budget.

Also, expect the team will also ask for representatives from your household to help the volunteers with the repairs. The organization calls this program Sweat Equity.

How to Apply

  1. Habitat for Humanity manages its applicants locally. You’ll need to find a nearby branch or call 1-800-HABITAT (1-800-422-4828) and express your need for home preservation support.
  2. Next, coordinate with your local affiliate. Note that the guidelines vary per location, and some limit their applicants to exterior repairs.
  3. Have the inspectors assess your living space and gauge the repair estimates. Wait for the results.

Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together has been providing house repair assistance since 1988. It has 142 offices across the country, which accomplish various repairs on more than 10,000 homes per annum.

Qualification Requirements

Rebuilding Together only works with applicants who plan on living in their home for the next two years and live in the following areas:

  • Arlington
  • Fairfax Counties
  • Cities of Fairfax 
  • Falls Church
  • Herndon 
  • Vienna

You should also meet the following income requirements based on your household size:

  • 1 Person: $28,901
  • 2 Persons: $33,051
  • 3 Persons: $37,151
  • 4 Persons: $41,301
  • 5 Persons: $44,601
  • 6 Persons: $47,901
  • 7 Persons: $51,201
  • 8 Persons: $54,501

Home Repairs Covered

Rebuilding Together focuses on essential repairs. It goes above and beyond to provide homeowners with a clean, dry, safe, and pest-free living space.

Estimated Grant

Rebuilding Together doesn’t fund repairs. However, it has thousands of trained volunteers who have adequate replacement parts and tools to repair various exterior and interior living space defects.

How to Apply

  1. Look for a local affiliate by entering your zip code on their site.
  2. Call the contact number. You’ll likely be greeted by one of the organization’s social workers, who will guide you through the application process.
  3. Accomplish the application form and submit your ID, income paperwork, and proof of residency.
  4. Wait for the underwriting team to process your paperwork and inspect your home.

Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse is a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization that assists homeowners who need urgent repairs. It has locations all across the globe.

Qualification Requirements

Samaritan's Purse typically works with low-income families in disaster-stricken areas. Although the organization focuses on emergency movements, it has adequate funds to support home repairs locally.

Home Repairs Covered

Samaritan's Purse can take on whole-home renovations, especially in disaster-stricken communities. However, individual applicants can expect volunteers to only assist with basic repairs involving paint, roofing, plumbing, and ventilation.

Estimated Grant

The organization focuses on performing repairs instead of giving out grants. As for livelihood and essential support, it often provides necessities like food, water, and clothing.

How to Apply

  1. Samaritan's Purse typically sends volunteers to areas stricken by natural disasters, but you can still reach out for support at (833) 345-3422.
  2. Its social worker will likely ask you to share your story.
  3. If your local affiliate already has an ongoing home repair program, you’ll have to submit your income documents, proof of residency, and government-issued IDs.
  4. Afterward, wait for the social workers to get back to you.

Energy Grants

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides home repair grants through its Weatherization Assistance Program. The program focuses on making living spaces more energy efficient. 

Qualification Requirements

The DOE doesn’t have any super-specific requirements, but it typically limits applications to low-income households making less than $25,000 per annum. Also, households with seniors, PWDs, and children.

Home Repairs Covered

The Weatherization Assistance Program focuses on energy efficiency. It aims for homeowners to save upward of $283 per annum on utility bills post-weatherization.

Estimated Grant

The DOE spends upward of $4,500 on the weatherization and repair of each qualified household.

How to Apply

  1. Assess your household income. The DOE strictly works with families making less than $25,000 per annum. Previous applicants ranged 200% below the poverty line.
  2. Look for your local Weatherization Program administrator. Each location receives different applications, so the competition in lower-income areas might be tighter.
  3. Next, your local administrator should provide an application form. Submit the accomplished form along with your income paperwork, ID, and proof of residence.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Does FEMA help with home repairs? 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assists low-income families that need urgent home repairs. However, it only covers the essentials.

Most families that qualify for grants need repairs on their roofing, toilets, critical utility systems, doors, and windows, among other basic needs. You can’t ask FEMA to shoulder non-essential fixture additions and cosmetic improvements.

Also, a FEMA inspector will check your home beforehand. FEMA will draft its own cost estimates based on its inspectors’ findings.

Improving your living space on a budget

Multiple grants and loans help low- to moderate-income homeowners with repairs, replacements, and modifications. Explore all your options. 

You can also look into organizations focused on specific communities, such as retirees, seniors, and veterans.

Whatever program you submit your application to, please manage your expectations. Don’t expect grants to cover all your repairs. 

In most cases, charity institutions only pledge upward of 50% of your total costs, plus they might reject purely cosmetic repairs.

Again, only selected applicants will qualify for grants. If you already have a safe, livable house and you only want to renovate the interiors, you’d be hard-pressed to find a grant suited to your needs.