Helping Out With Low-Income Family Home Renovation

We are headed into the holiday season which means the temperatures and bank accounts are dropping, and the spirit of giving is rising. And giving is precisely what Ontario Renovates, a home-improvement assistance program, does for its community.

In Cornwall of Ontario, Canada, a program has been put into place to help provide funds for home improvement projects to low-income homeowners. Cornwall’s mayor, Bob Kilger, explained, “The goal of the program is to help residents stay in their homes longer.” The funds can be used for repairs and modifications that help residents make their homes safer and more livable.

Urgent Home Repair Projects

Ontario Renovates is split up into two components: The first is Urgent Home Repair, which allows low to mid-income homeowners “receive a maximum forgivable loan of $16,000 which is earned over a 10-year period.” Residents can then use the money to upgrade their heating systems, repair their foundations, fix or replace their roofs, and improve or bring up to code their electrical systems.

Accessibility Modification Projects

The second component is Accessibility Modification, which gives eligible homeowners a grant of up to $3,500. This money is supposed to help make the home more accessible to those in wheelchairs or who have mobility issues. Qualifying projects might include ramps and handrails.

Qualifying For Program Assistance

In addition to the gross household income requirement of making no more than $40,000 a year, the house must be worth less than $160,000 to qualify. It cannot go toward rental properties or temporary residences. Seaway News, Cornwall’s newspaper, explained, “The property must be owned and be the sole and principal residence of the applicant, and property taxes, home insurance, and mortgage payments must all be up to date. The property must be located within the City of Cornwall or the United Counties of SDG. Funding is not available for work that is already started.”

Spokane Habitat for Humanity

In the United States, there are similar programs available to help improve or replace dwellings for low to mid-income families. For instance, the Spokane chapter of Habitat for Humanity is currently looking for volunteers to help out with a “114 twin home development in the lowest income area in our county, Deer Park.” The website said that it’s the biggest build in the chapter’s history. They are looking for volunteers to help out Thursday through Saturday 8:30 AM to noon and 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM.

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