A dream house isn’t just about your decor color palette and welcoming curb appeal, but about peace of mind in the place you call home. And we believe every homeowner should love where they live, including the millions of Americans with disabilities and 6.8 million households that struggle to navigate and use their own homes.1
Homes with narrow doorways and steps can limit the use of mobility aids, while high kitchen counters can impact independence. It’s not always easy to find accessible housing that accommodates your specific needs, and costly renovations aren’t always feasible for families who rely on disability benefits.
However, there are grants for disabled homeowners to build houses or fund renovations that serve them and their needs.
Whatever yours are, these financial resources can help you create a dream home that’s safe and comfortable.
Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) 203(k) Loans
- $5,000 – up to the total home value
- Bundles mortgage or refinance and rehabilitation costs into one loan
- Home must be at least one year old
The FHA’s 203(k) loan program allows home buyers and homeowners to fund repairs to an existing home that’s at least one year old. The loan must be at least $5,000 and can be as large as the total value of the home including anticipated rehabilitation.
Homeowners looking for a smaller home repair can apply for assistance through the FHA’s limited 203(k) program, which offers loans up to $35,000.
These loans can cover accessibility improvements to a home, as well as general upgrades, including overall modernization, landscape work, structural repair and energy efficiency standards.
Homeowners can apply for assistance through any FHA-approved lender.
- Average assistance: $750 – $1,250
- Primary income preferably comes from employment, child support, veteran’s benefits or retirement
- At least one household member must be employed
The nonprofit Modest Needs provides aid for individuals and families who live just above the poverty line and often don’t qualify for other social assistance programs. This grant is often awarded to families struggling with either of these expenses:
- Emergency expenses for families living paycheck to paycheck.
This covers a variety of needs, including medical bills, housing expenses and even legal fees.
- Unpaid monthly bills that are a result of extenuating circumstances.
This benefit helps families stay afloat if they have to leave work for an extended period of time or have another emergency expense like an insurance deductible that strains their finances.
Self-sufficiency grant values are determined by individual need and household income. The average grant awards $750 – $1,250 to applicants, and applications can be funded within 10 – 14 days.
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Rural Housing Repair
- Maximum loan: $40,000
- Maximum grant: $10,000
- Must own your primary residence
- Lack of other affordable credit options
- Make less than your county’s “very low income” limit
- Grant recipients must be at least 62 years old
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides single family housing repair loans and grants through its Section 504 Home Repair program.
Very low income homeowners may qualify for grants to repair their homes, and elderly homeowners within the stated income limits can receive grants to remove health and safety concerns.
Loans are provided at 20-year terms and include a fixed interest rate of 1%. Requirements may vary by location, so contact your state office for additional information.
- Eligibility varies by local affiliate
- Make less than 80% of the local median income
Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit with affiliates throughout the United States. Each affiliate shares the mission to repair homes, revitalize communities and rebuild lives.
Rebuilding Together’s primary goal is to provide safe and healthy housing repairs. Local affiliates also assist their communities by improving neighborhood safety, connections and accessibility.
These organizations complete around 10,000 projects a year to assist people in need in 39 states.
Housing Improvement Program
- Health and safety repairs: $7,500
- Building code renovations and repairs: $60,000
- Members of federally recognized indigenous tribes who live in an approved area
- Income under 125% of the federal poverty guidelines
Grants through the Housing Improvement Program are provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to benefit Native American homeowners who live in tribal service areas.
Funds may be used to repair and renovate existing homes or contribute to new housing costs. While grants don’t exclusively benefit people with disabilities, they do increase safe and accessible housing for Native Americans and Alaskans.
Home Modification Grants For Veterans
Around 27% of U.S. veterans7 have a service-related disability. In sharp contrast, only 12% of civilian noninstitutionalized Americans live with a disability9.
There are several nonprofits and federal services that work to provide accessibility aids for these veterans. The VA provides more than home loans, offering a Specially Adapted Housing Program with five housing grants for veterans and service members with service-related disabilities.
Specially Adapted Housing
- Must be a veteran or service member with a qualified service-connected disability
The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant is the largest VA-provided grant and can be contributed to home construction or modification to achieve barrier-free living.
These funds also come with some of the greatest restrictions and are only available to veterans or service members with these disabilities:
- Loss of use of both legs
- Loss of use of one leg and organ disease or loss of use of one arm
- Blindness in both eyes
- Loss of use of both arms at or above the elbow
- Severe burns
Special Housing Adaptation
- Must be a veteran or service member with a qualified service-connected disability
The Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant is provided to increase mobility in an existing home. This grant can be used up to six times and can be accessed again if the full amount isn’t used within a year.
Eligible service members or veterans must have one of the below service-related disabilities:
- Loss of use of both hands or arms below the elbow
- Severe burns
- Some respiratory or breathing injuries
Temporary Residence Assistance Grant
- Specially Adapted Housing: $40,983
- Special Housing Adaptation: $7,318
- Must be a veteran or service member with a service-connected disability
- Temporarily living with a family member
The SAH and SHA grants are also available for veterans or service members who are temporarily living with a family member and need funds to improve their home’s accessibility and mobility.
Home Improvements And Structural Alterations
- Service-connected disabilities: $6,800
- Non-service-connected disabilities: $2,000
- Must be a veteran or service member with a disability
The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant provides assistance to service members and veterans with disabilities, regardless of the cause.
Those with eligible service-connected disabilities may combine this grant with an SHA or SAH grant to increase their home modification funds.
Vocational Rehabilitation And Employment
- Must be a veteran or service member who cannot work due to a service-connected disability
- Must require adaptations for independence at home or in the community
Unemployed veterans and service members who can’t work due to their disability may benefit from the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) grant.
These funds are designed to improve independence and accessibility at home, though home adaptations must be approved for funding.
Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program
HUD provides housing choice vouchers (HCV) to help disabled Americans become first-time homeowners. This voucher helps cover the cost of buying a home, as well as ongoing homeownership expenses through monthly payments.
An HCV family must meet income requirements (unless receiving disability compensation), be a first-time home buyer and complete required housing education programs provided through your local Public Housing Agency.
Local Resources For Disabled Homeowners
In addition to federal resources, local and state departments also provide aid for disabled homeowners. These benefits may include buying assistance, grants for renovations or health and safety improvements.
To find resources in your area, explore:
- State and city housing agencies
- State and city health and social services departments
- Your state’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
You can also look for local nonprofits that can help. Your state and city agencies may have information on these organizations, or you can explore online charity guides for your metropolitan area.
Local affiliates of national organizations like Habitat for Humanity also provide home repair services disabled homeowners may be eligible for.
Additional Resources For Disabled Homeowners
Here are additional resources disabled homeowners may find helpful:
- American Association of People with Disabilities: Advocacy and resources
- Disability Benefits Help: Resources and advice for Social Security recipients
- Fair Housing Act: Defines housing discrimination based on disability and reporting resources
- HHS: Health care resources for people with disabilities
- Independent Living Centers Directory: Lists community-based state agencies operated by people with disabilities
- National Disability Institute: Financial and employment tools
- National Organization on Disability: Employment resources and initiatives
- The Arc: Advocacy and housing for people with disabilities
- USA.gov: Caregiver support and funding resources
- U.S. Department of Transportation: Resources for accessible transportation
FAQs For Disabled Homeowners
Homeownership can come with some unique challenges when you have a disability, including accessibility and funding. Here’s some additional information to help you renovate or buy a home.
How Is Disability Defined?
The CDC defines a disability as any physical or mental condition that limits how somebody participates in activities or interacts with others. The legal definition of “disability” clarifies that this condition must significantly impact one or more major activities.
Organizations that award grants for disabled homeowners will have their own definitions for disability and use that reference to determine appropriate aid.
What Other Home Improvement Grants Are Available?
Local and federal government agencies provide a variety of grants for homeowners to improve their property. There are grants available to fund sustainability improvements, historic properties or health and safety.
There are also several grants awarded by demographic and identity, including grants for veterans, low-income families and ethnic groups. Consult your city agency and explore local housing nonprofits.
How Can I Apply For Home Improvement Grants?
Most home improvement grants and loans will have a space for you to apply on their website. If you’re looking for assistance buying a home, consult your mortgage lender about available grants and how to qualify.
Are Home Loans Available For People With Disabilities?
The Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program helps cover home buying and homeownership costs for eligible first-time home buyers, including those with disabilities.
Other common home loans including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans also help Americans with disabilities become homeowners.
Safety and comfort are top priorities for every homeowner, and disabled homeowners are especially vulnerable to hazards at home. Government and nonprofit agencies provide a variety of grants to help these homeowners gain independence through increased mobility and accessibility.
Whether you’re looking to build a custom home or renovate your existing house, there are resources available to meet your needs without taking out a new line of credit or straining your finances.
Need extra cash for home improvement?