'Free Money' Available for Home Improvements

Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for a low-interest or no-interest home improvement loan that you wouldn't have to pay back until you sell your home, if ever.

Maybe you need your roof repaired, or need to remodel your basement to make more room for your growing family. Regardless of the project, you may be eligible for low-interest or no-interest loans to cover the cost of part or all of your project. 

"It is a good way to make sure that the houses are kept up with," said Tom Holman, program specialist with the City of Bloomington, in an interview with KSTP. "It is also to keep the housing stock up, to keep the neighborhoods attractive and to keep people in their homes."

In Bloomington you can get up to $35,000 that you do not have to pay back until you sell your home. St. Louis Park has an even better deal. There you can get up to $25,000 that you don't have to pay back at all if you stay in your home for 30 years or more.

Numerous cities in the Twin Cities have similar programs, some geared toward lower-income households and others open to anyone in the community. Residents of other cities, like Golden Valley, have money available through their counties.

Unfortunately, not every community is covered. Shakopee does not have a city program, and Scott County no longer has a program either. Carver County used to administer a program that covered both Scott and Carver counties, but that's no longer the case.

"We used to manage a fix-up fund, through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency," said Brenda Lano, supervisor of housing programs for Carver County. "Then last year CAP (the Community Action Partnership for Carver, Scott and Dakota counties) showed interest in taking it over, so we got out of it. What I have learned since is they are not doing the program. So currently there is no program available in Carver or Scott counties."

If you're not sure how to proceed, the best place to start is your city's website. 

Below is a short list of cities that have housing repair/improvement programs and where to find more info for those cities.

If you have any questions on how to get started finding out what you're eligible for, or if you're ready to move ahead with your project, contact Minnesota Valley Construction for a no-obligation consultation.

City of Bloomington
To qualify:
  Anyone with sufficient equity in their home qualifies for a loan of up  to $35,000 for replacement of roofs, doors, siding/gutters; insulation, exterior painting; repair/replacement of electrical systems, heating or plumbing; repairs to foundation or repair/replacement of sidewalks and entry steps.
Contact: Housing and Redevelopment Authority, (952) 563-8937 or hra@ci.bloomington.mn.us.

City of Woodbury
To qualify:
Loans of up to $25,000 are available to households that earn no more than 80 percent of area median income.
Contact: Karl Batalden, Housing Specialist/Associate Planner, (651) 414-3438 or kbatalden@ci.woodbury.mn.us

City of Richfield
To qualify:
The City of Richfield has three programs in place, one for major projects, a "fix-up" fund as well as the Hennepin County deferred loan program for lower-income families. There is a waiting list for the deffered  loan  program.
Julie Urban, Housing Specialist, (612) 861-9778 or JUrban@cityofrichfield.org

Hennepin County
To qualify: Requirements are different for each program, most of which do have waiting lists. Contact Hennepin County for details.
Contact: Housing, Community Works and Transit department at (612) 348-9260.

Scott County
To qualify:
No programs are currently available in Scott County.

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