Whether you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments or faced with an unexpected home improvement and repair expenses in Seattle or another city in King County, Washington, there is help available to you!
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While researching low income home buyer programs, we stumbled across several helpful programs for those who already own their own homes.
You need to know about these programs!
Low income homeowners nationwide have a hard time meeting their mortgage payments. If you are at risk of foreclosure because you’re struggling to make your housing payment, these programs can help you!
Get property tax exemptions!
King County offers property tax relief for low income disabled residents and senior citizens. This is an amazing program that relatively few people know about. The county estimates that only 1 of every 100 eligible residents has applied for this exemption! That’s 26,000 or so residents who have not contacted the county about this amazing perk!
To be eligible, you must have an annual household income of $40,000 or less and you must’ve owned the home, mobile home, condo or co-op for at least five years. You must also meet ONE of the following criteria:
- You must be age 61 before December 31 of the previous year OR
- You must be retired because of a disability OR
- You must be a veteran with 100% service-connected disability (individual unemployability counts) OR
- You must be a widow, widower or state registered domestic partner who is at least 57 years old and whose spouse or partner had an exemption at the time of death
You may also qualify for deferrals and other benefits.
Avoid foreclosure with emergency assistance programs!
Washington Homeownership Resource Center is committed to helping homeowners who are facing foreclosure. They may even be able to help you access up to $30,000 in rescue funds at 0-2 percent interest!
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Get help with home improvement expenses!
Catholic Community Services provides a Volunteer Chore Services program that assists with minor home repair, painting, yard work and more for disabled and elderly residents. Services are free to those who qualify based on income.
King County offers several home repair options for low income homeowners who need assistance. Their programs include loans and grants. They even offer a $8,000 grant to low income renters who need disability modifications!
Homeowners who qualify may receive a zero-interest loan of up to $25,000. If you choose, you can also participate in the dollar-for-dollar Matching Funds Loan Program and receive an additional $25,000. That’s a total of $75,000 for repairs, if you contribute the full $25,000 toward the matching program.
If your gross annual income is too low for a loan, you may qualify for a grant. Grants for homeowners in King County include a $6,000 emergency grant for life-threatening repair needs in homes that are currently occupied by their owners. Mobile home owners who do not own the land on which the mobile home is located can receive up to $8,000 for repairs.
Master Builders Association hosts an annual Rampathon that builds free wheelchair access ramps for low income homeowners throughout King and Snohomish counties. If you are a disabled homeowner or know someone who needs one, you can complete an application on the MBA website.
Rebuilding Together Seattle provides free home repairs from Tukwila to Everett. They use donated materials and labors on designated program dates to complete repairs.
Sound Generations provides assistance to residents of Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue. Their Minor Home Repair program can fix plumbing, electrical, carpentry or accessibility problems. They specifically serve low income families, disabled and elderly homeowners.
Weatherization Programs like those offered by King County Housing Authority can assist with free home improvements. These improvements are specifically related to energy-efficiency, such as insulation, weather stripping and more. They can improve the comfort of your home and reduce your power bill! Even renters can qualify for this program.
Specific cities have additional assistance programs.
Bellevue has home improvement grants, weatherization grants, deferred payment loans and leveraged loans available for low income home owners who need to make repairs. Grants range from $1,500 for emergencies to $3,000 for weatherization. Loans range from $17,500 to $35,000, depending on the program. The deferred loan program carries no interest and does not have to be repaid until the home is sold or transferred to a new owner.
Covington offers a minor home repair program that can provide up to $5,000 toward your home repair needs. To qualify, you must live in Covington, meet income limits, own your own home and have lived in it for at least a year. The repairs must be necessary for either health or safety reasons.
Des Moines offers a minor home repair program for low income Des Moines homeowners. To qualify for service, you must meet income limits, prove that you have homeowners assistance, indicate that you have no plans to move in the foreseeable future and reside within Des Moines city limits. You can receive up to $2,000 per project year and no more than $5,000 in a 10-year period.
Kent offers home repair services for low and moderate income homeowners who reside within Kent city limits, meet income limits and other requirements. This program can provide free minor repairs, including plumbing, electrical, carpentry, disability modifications, furnace service, storm doors, window repairs and more.
Renton has a Housing Repair Assistance Program that provides limited funding for eligible repairs. To qualify, you must live within Renton city limits, own the home for at least one year and meet income requirements. You can complete the application online!
SeaTac hosts a Minor Home Repair program that provides subsided repairs to low income homeowners. You must have lived in your home for at least one year, have current homeowners insurance, and state that you do not intend to move for the foreseeable future. You’ll need to call the Parks, Community Programs and Services department for an application.
Seattle offers a home repair program! Low income homeowners in Seattle can receive assistance in the form of low and no interest loans. Loans have either 0% or 3% interest and may have deferred payments. If you do not qualify for a loan, you may be able to receive a grant to assist with repairs.
These funds can be used for the following:
- Accessibility needs or modifications
- Appliances (if your existing ones are nonfunctional, inefficient or in very bad condition)
- Bathroom repair
- Brick or masonry repair
- Chimney repair
- Door and window repair (or replacement)
- Driveway or walkway repair
- Electrical upgrades
- Floor repair or replacement
- Foundation repair or replacement
- Hazardous materials removal
- Heating system repair or replacement
- Hot water heater repair or replacement
- Kitchen repair
- Plumbing repair or replacement
- Retaining wall repair
- Roof repair or replacement
- Sewer repair
- Siding (if in poor condition)
- Structural Repair
- Water line repair or replacement
Seattle also offers a HomeWise Weatherization Program that offers FREE energy efficiency improvements and upgrades to qualified low income households. This program provides a complete energy audit and may provide free insulation, air sealing, furnace repair or replacement and other weatherization services.
Shoreline refers its residents to Sound Generations and King County for its minor repair program and major repair program, respectively.
Tukwila provides a minor home repair program for Tukwila homeowners who have owned their homes for at least a year and meet income limits. This program provides up to $1,500 per repair with a $2,500 maximum limit per household per year and $5,000 maximum lifetime limit.