The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering grants and loans to income-eligible homeowners to make repairs before winter.

Qualifying homeowners can use the funds for roof, electrical, plumbing and siding repairs, as well as for energy-efficiency improvements like new windows or insulation.

Applicants must own and occupy the home, and income may not exceed guidelines established by county and household size. Income limits vary by county, and average $24,700 for a one-person household and $28,250 for two-person households. Income limits increase for larger households.

Applicants must also have an acceptable credit history, show repayment ability, be unable to afford a conventional loan and live in Winona, Houston, Fillmore or Wabasha counties in a community with a population of 20,000 or fewer people.

The maximum loan is $20,000, repayable over 20 years with a 1 percent interest rate.

Grants are limited to elderly homeowners older than 62, and can only be used to remove health or safety hazards or remodel dwellings to make them accessible to household members with disabilities. The maximum grant is $7,500.

For more information or to apply, contact the USDA Rural Development office in Austin, Minn., at 507-437-8247, ext. 4, or visit rurdev.usda.gov.

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(1) comment


As data analyses has shown the home improvement spendings have stayed steady in recent years. Such grants and loans as well as some other services online may become a good helping hand for those who plan to make some repairs whether they are necessary measures or simply improvements for family comfort.

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