The USDA Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants program helps promote safe, decent housing for older adults in rural areas.
Under this program, homeowners age 62 and older may qualify for grants that can be used to remove health and safety hazards in the home.
To apply for a Home Repair Loan or Grant, contact a USDA home loan specialist or your county’s Rural Development field office.
For older adults, aging in place means having safe, comfortable, and affordable housing. The Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants program was created to help more older Americans live independently for longer in their homes and communities.
What is the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants program?
Also referred to as the Section 504 Home Repair Program, the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants program is offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service. Its purpose is twofold:
- It provides loans to very-low-income homeowners that can be used to repair, improve, or modernize their home.
- It provides grants to low-income homeowners age 62 or older that can be used to remove health and safety hazards in their home. These grants can also be applied toward modifications that make a home more accessible to household members who have disabilities.
Who can get help from the USDA Home Repair Loans and Grants program?
This program is for existing homeowners of single-family homes. To qualify, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Own and occupy the house (and be able to document ownership)
- Meet your county’s guidelines for "very low income," which is typically below 50% of the area median income
- Be unable to obtain affordable credit anywhere else
- Be age 62 or older and unable to repay a loan (applies to grants)
In addition, your property must be located in an eligible rural area. Visit the USDA Income and Property Eligibility website and search the map to see which areas fall into this category.
If you have a manufactured home, you must own the home and site or you must be in a long-term lease. The home must also be occupied and should be on (or will be placed on with USDA funds) a permanent foundation.
You can obtain a USDA Home Repair Loan or Grant if your property has income-producing land or structures. However, you can only use the funds to improve the residential portion of your property.
How much money can I get from the USDA Home Repair Loans and Grants program?
The amount of funds you can get from this program depends on whether you qualify for a loan or a grant:
- Loans: The maximum loan amount is $40,000, to be repaid over 20 years on a monthly basis. Interest is at a fixed rate of 1%. For loans greater than $25,000, full title service is required. No down payment is needed.
- Grants: The lifetime maximum grant amount is $10,000. Grants do not have to be repaid unless the property is sold in less than three years.
If you can repay part of the funds received (but not all), you may qualify for a combination of a loan and grant. Loans and grants can be combined up to a maximum limit of $50,000.
What can USDA Home Repair Loans and Grants be used for?
USDA Home Repair Loans can be used to fund household repairs such as fixing a leaky roof or replacing a broken-down heating system. They can also be applied toward cosmetic or structural improvements, such as additions and kitchen and bath upgrades.
USDA Home Repair Grants, however, are intended to be used primarily to eliminate health and safety risks for older residents (such as winterizing a drafty house or repairing faulty electrical wiring). Grants can also be applied toward improving accessibility for residents with disabilities (e.g., installing a wheelchair ramp). Grants cannot be used to modernize or make cosmetic upgrades to a home. Be sure to check with your area Rural Development field office for specific funding guidelines.
Is there a deadline to apply for the USDA Home Repair Loans and Grants program?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for as long as funding is available. You can apply to the program year-round.
How do I apply for USDA Home Repair Loans and Grants?
The first step is to contact a USDA home loan specialist. Visit this map and choose your state to find a specialist in your area. They can answer any questions you may have and assist you with completing your application.
You can also contact your county’s Rural Development field office. Find contact information for your local office by choosing your state on this map.
Once you submit your application, the length of the review and approval process depends on funding availability in your area.
Learn more about the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants program by visiting the USDA Rural Development website.