Local Funding/Incentive Programs

Several state and local jurisdictions offer “incentive” funding to assist with housing repairs and energy efficient upgrades. Lacking the upfront money to make the repairs, low-income households are often eligible for forgivable low-interest loans or grants. Although many programs are geared to low- and moderate-income homeowners, there are models with no income limits. For example, in the case of loans, eligibility can be based on a tiered system in which households pay varying rates of interest based on income, so that higher-income households pay higher interest rates than moderate- and low-income households. Programs are often launched through seed money from the local jurisdiction or other funder(s) to support the work on low-income housing, while a pool of ongoing funding is created from the interest on higher-income loans.

Home Repair Program Examples

  • City of Dallas Home Repair Program
    Offers deferred loans to low-income homeowners for major systems repairs (MSRP) such as roof replacement, replacement or upgrades to plumbing, electrical and HVAC. The program also offers no-interest, deferred payment loans for reconstruction of homes referred from the MSRP program. A percentage of the MSRP loans are reduced annually as long as the owner remains in the home.
    [url, City of Dallas]
  • Boulder, CO, Low-Interest Home Repair Loan Fund
    A low-interest loan fund, based on financial need, in which the owner-occupant can defer repayment of the loan for 15 years or until they sell the house, whichever comes first. [url; City of Boulder, CO]
  • Milwaukee, WI Low-Interest Home Repair Loans
    A loan fund somewhat similar to Boulder’s (although not as flexible) which offers lower loan amounts and provides a clear listing of eligible repairs. [pdf; City of Milwaukee]

Property Tax Abatement or Exemptions

Exempts or defers (i.e., “abates”) property taxes on the value of the improved portion of a property for a prescribed period of time. Most programs do not cover improvements that could be considered routine maintenance such as roof or window replacement.

  • Example: Cleveland, OH Residential Tax Abatement Program 
    Offers tax rebates for both single-family homes and multifamily properties for renovations and conversion of nonresidential buildings to residential units. The tax abatement and period of abate is determined by the County Auditor’s Office based on the type of improvements. [url; City of Cleveland, OH]
  • Energy Efficiency Example: Cambridge Energy Alliance
    Nonprofit established by Cambridge (MA) to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. Offers no-cost energy assessments for any building in Cambridge; no-cost weatherization for low-income residents; financing for solar energy and energy efficient upgrades; and educational resources on energy efficiency and renewables. Available to residents, businesses, and institutions, with specific services targeted to low-income residents and landlords of low-income properties. Pooled resources help ongoing funding of projects targeted to low-income population. [url; Cambridge Energy Alliance]

State Tax Credits

Many state offer tax credits to help homeowners make specific repair or renovation upgrades such as lead or asbestos abatement, or to promote other state goals such as energy efficiency. DSIRE provides the most comprehensive list of energy efficiency and renewable tax credits available at the state or local level.

  • Example: Massachusetts Lead Paint Removal Credit 
    State tax credit to help residents offset costs associated with abating lead hazards. Residential property owners can claim a tax credit equal to the lesser of the cost of containment or abatement of lead hazards or $1,500 if they are fully compliant with lead abatement regulations. The state also offers a lower tax credit for interim control measures. [url; State of Massachusetts]
  • Example: New York Asbestos Removal Tax Credit 
    State tax credit for eligible individuals and developers to cover a percent of the costs associated with removal of asbestos from residential or commercial property. Provides a 20% credit of all eligible costs incurred from asbestos remediation from building 25 years or older, not to exceed $1 million over a three-year period. [url; New York State Senate]

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)
Most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies supporting renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Includes resources for developers, policymakers, researchers, and the general public. [url; DSIRE]

Green Affordable Housing Preservation Loan Fund
Reduced interest loans to affordable housing developers for energy efficient improvements and to ensure properties are environmentally sustainable. Funding supports: integrated plan and design, energy efficiency measures, use of materials beneficial to the environment, water conservation, healthy living environment, location and smart growth, site improvements, resident and management education and information.
[url; National Housing Trust]

Utility Rebate Programs 
Provides a listing of state, local government and utility rebate programs to promote installation of renewal energy sources and energy efficiency measures. Matrix indicates where the rebate program is located, the type of incentive, program eligibility and eligible technologies covered under the program. [url; Open Energy Information]