Nonprofits reopen home repair grant applications

Through the program, residents can receive up to $5,000 for home repairs, including, but not limited to, updating heating and cooling systems, repairing roofs and installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant entrances. Courtesy Amplify GR

Home Repair Services of Kent County and Amplify GR are reopening applications for home repair grants of up to $5,000 for eligible residents of southeast Grand Rapids.

The Neighborhood Strong Home Repair Grant program allows residents to make “critical repairs” to their homes at a fraction of the standard cost. Launched in April 2018, the program has provided more than $350,000 to more than 70 homeowners living in the residential neighborhoods of Boston Square and Cottage Grove.

“The Neighborhood Strong Home Repair Grant was developed to help alleviate the ever-rising cost of homeownership and maintenance, and we want to ensure homeowners are able to stay in their homes,” said Latesha Lipscomb, engagement and relationship manager at Amplify GR. “We understand that healthy neighborhoods start with healthy homes. We’re grateful to our partners at Home Repair Services that have worked in partnership with us to connect neighbors with the resources necessary to make vital improvements.”

The grant is funded by Amplify GR. Home Repair Services’ customer service team helps guide recipients through the process of obtaining quotes, gathering necessary documentation for the application process and potentially connecting those applicants with additional neighborhood resources for qualified home improvements.

Those interested can apply by reaching out to the program’s housing specialist from Home Repair Services, Deb Armstrong, who also is a longtime resident in the Boston Square area.

“As a Boston Square resident, I’m honored to work with my neighbors to help them navigate the grant application process,” Armstrong said. “I look forward to working with even more neighbors in the coming months to assist them in making critical improvements to their homes. At Home Repair Services, we’re proud to continue this collaboration so that we can ensure that all residents have a safe and comfortable place to call home.”

Neighborhood Strong funding for home repairs is based on applicants’ income, and homeowners are required to pay a 15%-25% co-pay. Through the program, residents can receive up to $5,000 for home repairs, including, but not limited to, updating heating and cooling systems, repairing roofs and installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant entrances.

“As a single mom and first-time homeowner, this support was a godsend to me,” said Sheena Walls, a Boston Square resident and former Home Repair grant recipient. “With the grant money, I was able to not only remove the asbestos from my basement to protect my children who both have asthma, but I also had money left over to repair my heating ducts and rewire my electrical system.”

More information about the Neighborhood Strong Home Repair Grant is on Amplify GR’s website.

Amplify GR

Founded in 2015, Amplify GR is a nonprofit funded by partners such as the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation and the Cheri DeVos Foundation (CDV5 Foundation) “to widen pathways so that more residents can participate and benefit from neighborhood growth in the Boston Square, Cottage Grove and surrounding areas” on Grand Rapids’ southeast side.

Through collaborations with residents, businesses, community organizations and funders, Amplify GR works in four areas of impact: jobs and entrepreneurship, housing, education and community well-being.

Home Repair Services

Established in 1979, Home Repair Services of Kent County aims to help vulnerable Kent County homeowners by offering a critical health and safety repair program for lower-income homeowners that includes access modifications.

Home Repair Services also offers self-help programs that are designed to equip and empower people to improve their own homes. From hands-on skills training and remodeling support to home inspections, financial coaching and foreclosure prevention, these programs are free and open to residents regardless of income level.

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