Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help promote healthy living environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Supporting healthy, stable housing: Housing rehabilitation assistance programs provide low-income homeowners with financial assistance to make necessary home repairs and upgrades. Such programs help households maintain their property in a safe and healthy condition. By ensuring homes are in a livable condition, rehabilitation assistance programs may positively impact participants’ health and reduce their likelihood of displacement.

  • Targeting support to low-income residents: Housing rehabilitation assistance programs are typically operated by local governments or area nonprofit organizations. Generally, programs are open to low-income homeowners (e.g., 80 percent of AMI) who meet certain eligibility criteria. These criteria may include limits on the value of the property or requirements to be current on mortgage and property tax payments, among others. In some cases, programs may be targeted toward specific populations, like older adults, families with young children, or individuals with disabilities.

  • Providing financial assistance: Programs may provide financial assistance in a variety of forms, such as grants, low- or no-interest loans, or through deferred payment agreements. The types of repairs and upgrades that are eligible vary considerably across programs, but typically include work that will improve the health and safety of the home. While more general programs will cover a range of repairs and upgrades, like electrical, roofing, and window improvements, other programs may be targeted toward specific types of repairs, such as lead paint abatement.

Cost per Participant
Not available

Multiple studies with rigorous designs demonstrate that housing rehabilitation assistance programs are a well-supported strategy for improving housing conditions and health outcomes.

  • Match types of assistance to local needs: Housing rehabilitation assistance programs may provide financial assistance in the form of grants, low- or no-interest loans, deferred repayment plans, or through other means. Programs should select the type or types of financial assistance they provide based on the needs of the local population. For example, a very low-income household may be unable to make regular loan payments; to serve this population, a program would likely need to offer grants or deferred payment plans to make the financial assistance accessible.

  • Connect households to outside programs: In many communities, nonprofit organizations offer services that may supplement those offered by a housing rehabilitation assistance program. For example, households may be able to access free or discounted supplies (e.g., paint), home repair and maintenance services, or additional financial assistance. The Center for Community Progress provides a list of these types of programs from communities across the United States.

  • Provide support identifying a contractor: Households participating in a housing rehabilitation assistance program will typically need to hire a contractor to perform repair and upgrading work. To assist participating households in identifying a reputable contractor, program staff should provide a guide with tips and strategies for hiring a contractor (e.g., see example from the City of Cleveland). Programs may also stipulate that contractors meet certain requirements, such as being licensed and insured, in order to be eligible for compensation.

  • Explore multiple funding sources: City and county governments may fund housing rehabilitation assistance programs using local revenue sources. However, funding from multiple federal programs - namely, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) - can typically be used for housing rehabilitation programs. Program staff should note, however, that these programs have requirements that may affect which residents and which parts of a jurisdiction may be eligible.