Learn About Housing Grants

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program offers many types of federal government housing grants.

These grants connect lower-income families with the resources they need to become homeowners. There are also grant programs that help qualifying homeowners make improvements and renovations to their existing home.

In addition to grants designed for homeowners, HUD also offers grants to organizations that improve the quality of life for people in need. For example, one type of grant helps improve conditions at emergency shelters around the nation. Keep reading to learn more about HUD housing grants that may be available to you or your organization.

The Purpose of Housing Grants

HUD’s missions include creating strong communities and helping people in need enjoy the peace that comes from living in safe and affordable housing.

When HUD invests in a community, it improves the housing market, strengthens the local economy and helps provide jobs and housing for those who need it most. HUD grants help build and restore communities by funding improvements made by organizations.

These government housing assistance programs can connect people with financing for a new home, help homeowners pay an existing mortgage or afford necessary repairs to improve their quality of life. A grant can allow an elderly or disabled homeowner to renovate an older home to meet handicapped accessibility needs. In this way, HUD helps people remain in their homes when they might have to move otherwise.

There are many types of housing grants, each serving a unique purpose. Every grant comes with its own specific eligibility requirements. The following sections explore some of the housing grants available today. Review them to learn more about the kinds of programs that may be of assistance to you.

Find Out About the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program

The Emergency Solutions Grants program is available in all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. ESG is similar to Section 8 in that it provides housing assistance, but its focus is mainly on combatting homelessness and other emergency housing situations.

ESG provides funding to states, metropolitan cities, urban counties and organizations to:

  • Improve the quality of emergency shelters.
  • Build new emergency shelters and operate existing shelters.
  • Provide essential services for shelter residents.
  • Provide housing for at-risk families and individuals.
  • Prevent homelessness.
  • Interact with homeless applicants living on the street.

ESG works to prevent homelessness by helping people remain in their homes with the help of grant money. The program provides rental assistance to those living in emergency shelters, to help them leave the shelter and get established in a home or apartment.

ESG requires applicants to have experienced a housing crisis, such as being homeless or being under the threat of eviction or foreclosure. Therefore, families and individuals who have not had this experience are not eligible to apply.

Discover the HOME Investment Partnerships Program

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program provides grants to support existing housing programs in states and communities.

The program’s goal is to increase homeownership and provide more affordable housing options for low-income Americans. HOME funding can provide rental assistance to families in need, help create new housing to rent or buy and restore existing housing within a community.

Although HOME funding can help individuals and families, the program does not directly distribute funds to individuals. Therefore, it is important to apply for the program through your local housing authority office. Your family will have the best chance of receiving aid through HOME if your income is no more than 60 percent of the HUD-adjusted median family income for your area.

Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Loans and Grants

The Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants Program provides financial assistance to older low-income individuals and families in certain rural areas.

Applicants must be at least 62 years old and have an income that is 50 percent lower than the median income in their locality. The program’s loans and grants must be used to repair, improve or remove health and safety hazards from existing homes.

Grants provided through the program do not need to be repaid. Program loans must be repaid; however, the program offers reasonable terms to avoid a major impact on low-income households. Current loan terms extend payment over 20 years at just one percent interest.

Although the funds must be used to make home improvements related to safety or health, the list of acceptable repairs is broad. It can cover projects such as building wheelchair ramps, adding a walk-in bathtub and widening doorways. Older rural homes can be modernized to improve safety conditions.

Learn About the Choice Neighborhoods Program

As its name implies, the Choice Neighborhoods Program strives to improve the quality of life in struggling communities.

It accomplishes this by funding improvements that make a neighborhood a safer, more appealing place to live. This community-driven revitalization program focuses on improvements that are important to families, including schools and recreational activities.

The Choice Neighborhoods Program uses both public and private money to improve public and assisted housing conditions in the designated neighborhood. Because of its “whole community” approach, it requires people throughout the community to actively participate by sharing visions and strategies for improvement.

Participants should represent each of these entities:

  • Local government
  • Housing and tribal authorities
  • Residents
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Private developers
  • School districts
  • Law enforcement agencies

The Choice Neighborhoods Program leaders will work together with local residents, leaders and stakeholders to create a plan that improves housing and opportunities for the community. This transformation plan, or revitalization strategy, is meant to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Replace old public and assisted housing with high-quality, mixed-income housing that is well-managed and meets the neighborhood’s needs.
  2. Improve the outcomes of neighborhood households by funding employment, health, education and children’s programs.
  3. Create the conditions necessary for public and private developers to reinvest in the neighborhood, thus creating the good schools, safety and commercial opportunities that draw families to live in a certain area.

If you are interested in bringing the Choice Neighborhoods Program to your area, note that the local government jurisdiction must be the lead applicant or co-applicant.

This can be a local government or tribal entity or a public housing agency. HUD provides a mapping tool that establishes neighborhood eligibility based on recent demographic data obtained from that area.