Whether you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments or faced with an unexpected home improvement and repair expenses in Illinois, there is help available to you! 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!
Cities and counties offer property tax exemptions to low income seniors and disabled residents. If you are over the age of 61, unable to work because of a disability and/or rated 100% disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you could qualify for a property tax exemption! Contact your county’s Assessor’s office (or visit their website) for an application and instructions. They can usually back-date your eligibility by 2-3 years, so you could even get thousands of dollars in refunds!
Reduce your payments, principal and more!
Illinois Hardest Hit Program provides up to $35,000 in free assistance to Illinois homeowners who have experienced an income reduction of at least 15% due to a qualifying hardship event. Qualifying events include unemployment, underemployment, decrease or loss of business income, loss of income due to disability, divorce or death of spouse. The event must have occurred after January 1, 2010 and after the property’s purchase date. Other criteria, including asset and income limits, apply.
I-Refi is an Illinois program that helps homeowners who owe more than the home is worth. You could receive up to $50,000 in assistance to reduce your mortgage principal and refinance into a new affordable loan. For a list of I-Refi lenders, visit the IHDA website.
Lake County residents can use foreclosure prevention services from Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County. This agency provides free foreclosure assistance services, including education, counseling, mediation and legal stays. They may also be able to help you access the Illinois Hardest Hit Fund Program, which provides up to $35,000 in free assistance to Illinois homeowners who have experienced an income reduction of at least 15% due to a qualifying hardship event.
Foreclosure Prevention Events around Illinois help homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. These workshops provide information on foreclosure prevention programs, housing counseling, legal assistance and debt management.
Get help with home improvements and repairs!
Community Contacts Inc. serves homeowners in Kane, DeKalb and DuPage counties. This program provides weatherization assistance, housing rehabilitation and more. Their weatherization services can assist you with adding insulation, checking detectors, air sealing the home and providing other energy efficiency improvements. The Housing Rehabilitation Program can provide up to $30,000 toward your home improvement needs!
Rebuilding Together assists with repairs through its network in Aurora, Henry County, Metro Chicago, Metropolis, North Suburban Chicago, Peoria and Southwest Illinois. They offer volunteer services on designated Rebuilding Days. Certain branches also feature Safe at Home year-round repairs for seniors and other services.
The Wabash Independent Living and Learning Center serves Clay, Owen, Park, Putnam, Vermillion and Vigo Counties. They can assist with wheelchair ramps.
Talk to an Expert Now!
Have a home repair question? If you’d like to talk to a home repair technician right now, our friends at HomeFix can help!
Cities and counties offer additional assistance programs.
Be sure to check your city and county so you don’t miss any of these epic resources!
Aurora has a HOME program which may be able to offer foreclosure prevention services to homeowners who need help.
Champaign offers many programs for low income homeowners who need some help.
The Accessibility Structure Demolition Program helps low income homeowners demolish dilapidated and dangerous accessory structures on their property. Garages, sheds and fences that pose safety risks can be demolished using these funds. The program awards the assistance in a grant or forgivable deferred loan, depending on the amount required.
The Full Home Improvement Program provides grants and low interest loans to eligible Champaign homeowners who reside in certain neighborhoods. This program funds repairs for deteriorated dwellings who need moderate to substantial repair. To qualify, you must live in a specified target area and meet income limits. You could receive a maximum of $30,000 through this program!
The Home Accessibility Retrofit Program (HARP) provides grants or loans to eligible homeowners who need to improve the accessibility of their home by modifying the layout, adding structural features like wheelchair ramps, or eliminate barriers. This program provides “visitability” modifications to help homes be more accessible for immediate family members with disabilities who visit the property.
The Minor Home Repair Program provides grants and forgivable deferred loans to Champaign homeowners who need immediate assistance with problems that threaten the health or safety of the occupants. Repairs are capped at $5,000 (or $8,000 for roof and sewer line repairs).
The Residential Exterior Rehabilitation Program provides a 50/50 matching grant or zero-interest loan that can be used to repair or beautify the outside of your home. You can use the funds for fencing, walkways, driveways, roofing, siding, windows and other improvements that are visible from the street. To qualify, your home must be located in a designated Target Neighborhood and you must meet income requirements. As of February 2018, Target Neighborhoods included Douglass Park, Beardsley Park, Garwood, Garden Park and Garden Hills.
Chicago offers several programs for low income homeowners. To qualify, you must meet income and other requirements. Each program’s requirements may vary.
The Emergency Heating Repair Program runs from November 1st to April 1st of each year. To participate, you must own a home in Chicago that is habitable, occupied and not at risk of foreclosure. You must be income eligible. If you sell, move or otherwise transfer the title of the property within one year of the assistance, you will be required to pay a pro-rated amount toward the repairs.
The Green Bungalow Program assists owners who own historic homes in Chicago. This program provides grants of up to $5,000 for rehabilitation and $4,000 for energy efficiency upgrades. They can also provide how-to seminars, incentives and other resources for owners of historic Chicago bungalows.
The Roof and Porch Repair Program offers assistance on a lottery basis. You must register on certain dates. The registrations will be entered in a random lottery drawing. Winners will be notified by mail. Keep tabs on the City of Chicago Planning and Development page for updates on the next registration period.
Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) can perform minor repairs and disability modifications for seniors. These may include door repair, wheelchair ramp installation, grab bar installation, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector checks and more. Renters can participate in this program with permission from a landlord.
Decatur can provide grants up to $5,000 toward repairs. The repairs must be life-threatening or related to sanitation. Examples of qualifying repairs include hot water heater replacement, electrical repairs, or furnace replacement.
DeKalb sets aside funding for emergency repairs for low income homeowners. These funds can be used for sewer replacement, roof repairs, water heater replacements, electrical upgrades and more. This Housing Rehabilitation Assistance Program has income and property requirements.
The City of Dekalb also participates in a Housing Rehabilitation Volunteer Assistance program. This program can provide yard cleanup, landscaping, painting, weatherization projects and more depending on volunteer availability.
Evanston offers rehabilitation loans to residents who need to improve their home due to health, safety or accessibility concerns. The funds can also be used to improve energy efficiency or provide elements that will lengthen the useful life of the structure.
Lake County is served by the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County. This agency offers several home repair grants and loans that can assist low income homeowners who are facing expensive but necessary repairs.
With the Life Systems Grant, you could receive up to $40,000 to repair or improve systems and structures such as the roof, foundation, plumbing, electric and other systems. This is a zero interest loan with no monthly payments that is forgiven after 5-10 years on the home (depending on how much funding you receive). This grant is not available to Waukegan residents, since Waukegan has its own program.
With the Accessibility Grant, you could receive up to $17,000 to make your home accessible to residents who are disabled or have limited mobility. This zero interest loan has no monthly payments and is fully forgiven after 5-10 years in the home.
An Amortized Loan option is available, which provides up to $10,000 to make all kinds of systems, accessibility and aesthetic improvements to the home. The loan has a 3 percent interest rate and must be paid monthly. The term cannot exceed 10 years.
Madison County can help low income disabled homeowners install accessibility ramps.
McHenry County offers $3,000 or more toward home repairs that are needed to improve the health, safety or accessibility of your home. For more information, visit the McHenry County Housing Authority website. They can also coordinate weatherization services.
Moline assists low income home buyers with emergency repairs, such as water line breaks, sewer line breaks and inoperable furnaces. You will need to meet income and other criteria to receive assistance.
Mount Prospect offers a Handyman Program for seniors. This program provides reduced-cost handyman services to seniors (age 60+ years) who need minor home repairs in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Palatine and Rolling Meadows. The Handyman Program can help with grab bar installation, curtain hanging, toilet repair, changing locks, screen repair, sink repair, tacking carpet, cleaning gutters, hanging pictures and more. The work is done by reliable, insured professionals. There is a sliding scale cost based on income. In some cases, there may not be any fee at all. In other cases, the work may cost $10, $20 or $30 per hour.
Normal has a Homeowner’s Emergency Repair and Accessibility Program that can help low income homeowners fix major life, health and safety issues in their homes. To apply, you need to contact PATH Inc.
Peoria may assist with repairs that cost less than $5,000, as long as those repairs are necessary for the home to remain habitable. Acceptable repairs include a broken furnace, hot water heater or a lack of running water in the home. They also have a program that can assist with roof repair but this program only helps 20 people per year who are selected in a random lottery drawing from the eligible applicants.
Rockford may provide forgivable loans of up to $25,000 to help you improve your home! They can also provide grants to help you connect with city water. One of my absolute favorite Rockford programs is the Mow-to-Own program. If there is a vacant city-owned lot next to your property, you may be able to maintain that land and eventually acquire it!
St. Clair County offers grants, loans and forgivable loans to assist with rehabilitation of your home. Accessibility grants can provide up to $5,000 to modify a home so that it is more accessible for disabled residents. Emergency grants can provide up to $5,000 to help families fix health or safety hazards in the home, such as roofing, electric, plumbing and heating. The forgivable loan program can help correct and repair interior and exterior systems that pose health and safety hazards. The Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program can provide up to $24,000 at 2.5 percent interest (with a 10 year loan term) for low and moderate income earners who need to rehabilitate their homes.
Waukegan offers funds to help with emergency repairs and substantial rehabilitation. Emergency assistance is available immediately for repairs that threaten the health or safety of the home, such as dangerous electric installations, inoperable furnaces, leaking roofs or sewer lines that don’t drain. Substantial rehabilitation funds have a waiting list and may take a while to receive. The repairs are done as a no-interest deferred loan that does not have to be repaid until the property is sold or refinanced. If you continue living in the home for 10 years, the amount you owe will be reduced between 25 and 50 percent.