5 Types of Housing Grants and Programs That May Lower Your Housing Costs

Owning your own home is no small task. Whether you want to build your own house or buy one, you must find a way to come up with the money you need. Then, once the home is built or purchased, you’ll need even more money to cover its long-term upkeep, including paying regular bills or paying for unexpected repairs or desired renovations. It can be tricky to cover these costs on your own.

However, there are various assistance programs and grants designed to help home buyers. A housing grant provides money to renovate or purchase a home, much like a loan. Unlike loans, housing grants do not require repayment. There are multiple housing grants for which you can apply, though you’ll need to meet the various qualification requirements. The following are some of the most widely-available housing grants and assistance programs.

Government Grants and Programs
Government Grants and Programs

If you want to get a grant to buy a home, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is an excellent place to begin. Many HUD programs exist to assist with affordable housing. However, HUD homes programs have strict qualification requirements. Those requirements are primarily based on income.

If you and your family meet these requirements, you may be able to get housing assistance in one of several ways:

  • Apply for Section 8 Voucher Program vouchers to help you rent an affordable home.
  • Obtain housing subsidy vouchers to help you afford monthly mortgage payments when buying a home.
  • Use the down payment assistance programs offered by HUD to request a large amount one-time for the purpose of purchasing a home.

If home ownership is your goal, the second or third choice above may be ideal. However, qualifying for a housing subsidy voucher can be difficult. Nevertheless, HUD houses for sale listed at lower prices due to government repossession and other information provided by HUD can help you reach your goal of owning your own home faster.

In fact, HUD housing assistance includes multiple resources and access to information on various assistance programs that may help you. You can request such information even if your income surpasses the qualification level for direct HUD assistance.

Federal Housing Administration Grants and Loans
Federal Housing Administration Grants and Loans

If HUD down payment assistance does not work for you, the next place to look is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a division of HUD. The goal of the FHA is to help applicants purchase homes by providing home loans that have federal backing. By backing the loans in that way, FHA down payment assistance allows applicants to be better able to afford the cost of a down payment, which might ordinarily be financially out of reach.

Rather than providing money like first time home buyer grants, FHA loans simply offer better terms than standard bank loans. Typically, lower down payments are required. Also, lower interest rates are offered.

Additionally, applicants do not need to have excellent credit scores to qualify. That makes them good choices for applicants interested in first homeowners grant programs or equivalent types of assistance.

FHA loans come in several categories, including the following:

  • FHA purchase loans provide benefits like when applicants apply for first home buyers grant programs. The difference is they are low-interest loans that require repayment on time. Payment default transfers ownership of the home to HUD.
  • The Section 504 Home Repair Program provides a type of loan for home repairs. The funds must be used to make renovations to a home. The program is available to first time home buyers or existing homeowners.
  • The Section 203k Loan Program is like Section 504, but it has different requirements and limitations. For example, applicants must take out a loan of at least $5,000 under the program.
  • FHA and HUD free first-time home buyer programs are also available in some states. They provide grant funds for applicants purchasing their first homes. However, the amounts provided vary by location and are not available in all regions.
Home Weatherization Programs
Home Weatherization Programs

If HUD and the FHA cannot assist you, another option you have is to look into weatherization programs. One of the free home repair grants for which you may qualify allows you to update your existing home under the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

WAP offers some of the most important and accessible home repair loans and grants. The purpose of the program is to improve efficiency, reduce expenditures, and improve health of homeowners. It does so by reducing energy bills and lowering medical risks due to facilitating property updates.

Updates often covered by WAP include:

  • Insulation
  • Door and window replacement or repair
  • Installation of energy-efficient equipment (appliances, shower heads, thermostats, etc.)
  • Maintenance, cleaning or replacement of cooling and heating systems.


Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans and Grants
Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans and Grants

If you are a member or former member of the U.S. military, you may qualify for VA grants for home purchases or home improvement grants. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides multiple types of assistance for qualifying homeowners or soon-to-be home buyers.

These include the following benefits:

  • Providing loans and housing benefits for family members of veterans or active military members
  • Administering the Disabled Veteran Housing Assistance Program to help disabled veterans with grants for Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISAs), Special Housing Adaptations (SHAs), or Specially Adapted Housing (SAH)
  • Providing Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRLs) and other refinancing choices
  • Offering home loans with VA-backing for reduced payments and interest rates.


Rural Area Loans and Grants
Rural Area Loans and Grants

Another federal organization that can potentially help you afford the cost of your home is the Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you live in a rural area, the USDA can help you build your own house, repair one you already own, or purchase one under the Rural Development (RD) program if you live in a rural area and meet other qualifications. Among those are income restrictions.

The USDA offers several loan types to qualified applicants. For example, applicants with moderate incomes may qualify for 30-year loans with fixed rates of interest through approved lenders. The USDA itself offers direct 33-year loans for applicants with low incomes. Repair loans are also available. Check with the USDA to see if you qualify for any programs or loan opportunities presently available.