The Next Step: Home Improvement
Educational workshops and programs can help remove obstacles that prevent many low and moderate income families from buying a home. But achieving the dream of home ownership isn’t the end of the story. Home improvement issues are equally important in improving quality of life and strengthening our neighborhoods. Several excellent programs exist to help with these challenges:
Allegheny County Weatherization Program
Purpose: Conserve energy through insulation and other measures for low income home owners.
Housing Accessibility Program
Fees: None; grant program
Purpose: Funds housing modifications such as ramps and exterior lifts, door and hallway widening, kitchen, bathroom modifications, and other adaptive measures.
AHILP (Allegheny Home Improvement Loan Program)
Allegheny County Department of Economical Development
Fees: Loans at 1% interest or 0% in emergency situations
Purpose: Described as “the most affordable way for eligible Allegheny County residents to rehabilitate and improve their homes,” this low interest loan program is sponsored by the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County and administered by Allegheny County Economic Development.
Home Repair Ministry
The Pittsburgh Project
Fees: Free for income-eligible home owners
Purpose: Volunteer work crews donate over 50,000 hours each year to provide free home repairs for home owners who are elderly, poor, shut-in, widowed, disabled, or immobile. Projects include exterior and interior painting, repairing damaged walls and ceilings, hanging drywall, installing new toilets, constructing wheelchair ramps, clearing debris, repointing loose bricks, fortifying retaining walls, replacing doors, floors, and windows, patching holes on rooftops, and many smaller jobs.
Rebuilding Together – Pittsburgh
Fees: Free for eligible low income home owners, particularly the elderly and disabled
Purpose: Volunteers offer repair, renovation and modifications services, including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, plastering, painting, concrete, weatherization, lock repair, safety modifications, trash removal and cleaning. The last Saturday in April every year is set aside for major renovations to homes throughout Allegheny County.