By Megan Kelley
Oakland County is offering up to $23,000 in interest free loans to Oakland County residents to make needed home repairs, including barrier free access and energy saving upgrades.
To qualify, you must own and live in your home in Oakland County and you meet gross household income limits set by the federal government.
The loan, while interest free, also has no monthly payments and the total loan is only due and payable when you no longer live in your home.
“For those who meet certain income thresholds, they’re able to go to Oakland County – the home improvement program, and the county has a program where they come out and assess what a home might need for certain safety things, whether it’s roofing, heating and cooling, things like that that someone really needs, not just niceties,” said Joe Madore, Manager of the village of Oxford. “They call it a loan program but I know that typically, if you live there for a number of years, it sometimes will reduce each year you live there and you may never owe anything if you stay there long enough. Or you may get the money back, but you don’t owe it until you sell, which could be 20 years down the road.”
According to Oakland County, repairs must result in the home being “decent, safe and sanitary’ and that based on home improvement needs, financial situation and availability of funds at the time of application, eligible improvements may include things like: basement waterproofing, insulation, windows, electrical and heating systems, roof, porch, septic systems and others.
In the past, Oxford residents have opted to participate in the program but have not as of recently.
Madore is aware that many people in the community may be skeptical of the program for a number of reasons but urges them to at least call and get information for themselves
“Don’t be scared because it’s a loan. At least reach out and talk to the county about how (this) works. Some people initially, they see a pamphlet and they say, ‘oh, a home improvement loan, I’m not even going to call them because I can’t afford a loan.’ They don’t know that they don’t have to pay this for 10, 15 (years), whenever they sell the house. That’s a game changer,” Madore said.
“I think another part is, people just aren’t aware of it enough. We have all aspects in the village. We have old old homes that need help and we have brand new houses on the lake that are a million dollar home. You have people that can afford the million dollar home and you have people who live in an old home that they may have gotten from their parents and they’re struggling to get by and keep up with the taxes but they have no idea this program is out there,” Madore said.
More information on the Home Improvement Program and application form can be found on the Oakland County government website (oakgov.com) under Community, Neighborhood Housing & Development, Grants & Funding, and then under Home Improvement Program (oakgov.com/community/neighborhood-housing-development/grants-funding/home-improvement-program)
By Megan Kelley