Home repair program available for qualifying residents in Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published July 28, 2020

 Kathleen Nasrey, of Royal Oak, sits in her living room with her grandchildren, Rylee, 9; Harper, 8; and Monroe, 6 months, on July 5, 2018. Nasrey received new living room floors through the home improvement program offered by the city.

Kathleen Nasrey, of Royal Oak, sits in her living room with her grandchildren, Rylee, 9; Harper, 8; and Monroe, 6 months, on July 5, 2018. Nasrey received new living room floors through the home improvement program offered by the city.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROYAL OAK — For more than 40 years, the city of Royal Oak has offered a Housing Rehabilitation Program for qualifying low- to moderate-income residents to help finance home repairs.

Its purpose is to maintain and improve the city’s neighborhoods.

The latest program has approximately $350,000 to finance eligible home repairs, including new roofs, siding, windows, insulation, driveways, porch repairs, plumbing and sewer, furnace and air conditioner, basement waterproofing, electrical work, and kitchen and bathroom updates.

It runs through June 30, 2021, and applicants must be the owners and occupy single-family homes in Royal Oak. Taxes, water bills and mortgages must be up to date.

The program falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is supported through Community Development Block Grants. It includes grants for exterior work and two types of loans.

The grants for exterior work are available for up to $10,000. Grants are forgiven 10% each year for 10 years, and the homeowner must reside in the home for 10 years for the grant to be completely forgiven.

Regular monthly installment loans are available up to $40,000 with no interest charge.

For the grants and installment loans, the graduated limits on household income range from $44,000 for a family of one to $82,000 for a family of eight.

Deferred loans are available up to $40,000, with an interest charge of 3% after a deferment period of five years. The interest does not accrue until payments start.

For the deferred loans, the graduated limits on household income range from $27,500 for a family of one to $51,850 for a family of eight.

The city will assist homeowners from determining the work necessary to bidding the work. As part of federal guidelines, the program must abate lead-based paint hazards in the areas of work to be done.

Rehabilitation Finance Officer Debbie Murray said she hopes to help at least 35 homeowners with home repairs this year.

She said the maximum limit of combined loans and grants is $40,000 per year.

The program covers the installation of ramps and retrofitting homes to be Americans with Disabilities Act accessible, but it does not cover additions, basement remodeling, appliances and what HUD considers decorations, such as painting.

“The program is based on keeping neighborhoods in good condition,” Murray said.

Royal Oak Planning Director Joseph Murphy said that many participants in the program are retirees who have lived in Royal Oak for many years, are on fixed incomes, and wish to stay in their homes.

“Many homes in Royal Oak were built in the 1940s or 1950s, and they need some significant renovations,” he said. “This program provides affordable options so many people who want to stay in the community can stay in their existing home, especially at a time now where maybe some people were hesitant about investing in their homes due to economic conditions.”

Besides the Home Rehabilitation Program, CDBG funds also support the Royal Oak Senior Essential Services program. Residents over the age of 62 who qualify for subsidy assistance can receive help with household tasks and personal home care. For more information, call the Mahany/Meininger Senior Community Center at (248) 246-3900.

For more information about the Home Rehabilitation Program, call (248) 246-3292, email debram@romi.gov or visit romi.gov/290/Housing-Rehabilitation-Program.

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