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Home Repair Programs Primer

Colder weather means a lot for Michiganians- the beginning of the holiday season, winterizing cars and homes, and switching out lighter clothes for cozy winter favorites. The colder weather can also bring attention to home repairs that need to be finished before winter is in full force. Washtenaw County is home to a variety of home repair and safety programs. Below is a partial list of agencies that Ahead of the Curve works closely with.    

Catholic Social Services Home Repair & Maintenance Program 

  • Services Offered: 
    • Basic household repairs & routine maintenance 
    • Minor plumbing 
    • Smoke alarms & carbon monoxide detectors 
    • Battery and light bulb exchanges 
    • Grab bars and shower chairs 
    • Raised toilet seats, handheld showers 
  • Qualifications: 
    • Must be Washtenaw County resident age 65 and older.  
  • Cost/Repayment: 
    • Services offered on a sliding scale, however if clients are unable to contribute to cost share, services will not be denied.  
  • Website: https://csswashtenaw.org/seniors/home-and-safety-services/  
  • Contact: Email nlarsen@csswashtenaw.org or call (734) 971-9781 (press “366” for Home Maintenance Coordinator or “8” for Senior Services).

Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) 

  • Services Offered:  
    • Insulation in the attic, walls and crawlspaces 
    • Furnace and water heater inspections and repairs  
    • Plumping repairs (including emergency repairs) 
    • Caulking around drafty windows and doors 
    • Inspections and replacements for inefficient refrigerators 
    • Weather-stripping around doors and attic accesses 
    • Emergency furnace, water heater or sewer line repairs (not affected by waitlist) 
    • installation of exterior wheelchair ramps (Manufactured homes are eligible for this program on a case-by-case basis) 
  • Qualifications: 
    • Must reside within one of the Urban County jurisdictions (Ann Arbor Township, Augusta Township, Bridgewater Township, City of Ann Arbor, City of Dexter, City of Saline, City of Ypsilanti, Dexter Township, Lima Township, Manchester Township, Northfield Township, Pittsfield Township, Salem Township, Saline Township, Superior Township, Sylvan Township, Webster Township, York Township, Ypsilanti Township) 
    • Must meet income requirements:
  • Cost/Repayment: 
    • All accessibility projects shall include a property lien, which covers the cost of installationThe terms of the property lien shall be in the form of a deferred, zero percent interest loan that is forgiven at the rate of one-fifth per year for a five-year period following project completion. After five years the lien is 100% forgiven. 
    • Accessibility ramp grants will be limited to a one-time assistance per dwelling during a five-year period. 
  • Website: https://www.washtenaw.org/2923/Home-Improvement-Programs  
  • Contact: Call (734) 544-3008 or email Yvonne at cudneym@washtenaw.org 
  • Weatherization FAQs: https://www.washtenaw.org/FAQ.aspx?TID=33  
  • Waitlist:  
    • As of 11/23/20 waitlists for the following programs are full and not accepting new applications: 
    • Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation program 
    • Single Family Housing Rehabilitation Program 
    • Roof Replacement Program 

Habitat for Humanity 

  • Services Offered: 
    • Grab bars
    • Handrails for porches and staircases 
    • Lever knobs and push-button locks
    • Furnace test and tune up
    • Energy saving measures (e.g., LED lightbulbs, thermostats, water flow regulators, etc.) 
    • Refrigerator replacement (must be pre-2014 model) 
    • Roof replacement 
    • Water heater replacement 
    • Converting bathtubs to walk-in showers 
    • Habitat for Humanity also offers a Critical Repairs and Weatherization program for veterans: https://www.h4h.org/veterans-programs 
  • Qualifications:  
    • Must live in greater Washtenaw county and own your home (rental homes, condos and multiple-residence structures are not eligible).  
      • Unable to repair roofs on mobile homes.  
    • Must use DTE for BOTH your gas and electric services for furnace tune ups and replacements.
    • Must provide a recent copy of your DTE bill 
    • Much of Habitat’s critical repairs take place in neighborhoods in Gault Village, Sugarbrook, and West Willow in Ypsilanti. 
    • Annual household income must not exceed the maximum based on household size – go to https://www.h4h.org/refrigerator-replacement-program to determine your eligibility 
  • Cost/Repayment: 
    • Some programs require a repayment that is deeply discounted from the full cost of labor and installation. No deposit required and no interest charged. Visit website or call for information on repayment schedules.  
  • Website: https://www.h4h.org/home-improvement-program  
  • Contact: Call (734) 649-5655 or email Martha Davis at martha@h4h.org
  • Waitlist:  There is no waitlist at this time.  We are actively accepting applications for critical home repairs in Washtenaw county.  NOTE:  Submitting an application does not guarantee your eligibility for the program.  All applications are reviewed by the Home Improvement Team and cannot move forward with their approval. 

Preventing Home Repair Scams 

  • ALWAYS do your homework when hiring someone for repairs. Ask for references and don’t accept work from people or companies that approach you. The Federal Trade Commission recommends getting three written estimates before getting work done.  
  • A credible repair person/service will never ask for payment in gift cards, money wiring, or in cash. 
  • It’s not rude to ask for references before hiring a repair person or company! It could save you thousands of dollars and your home. 
  • If someone pressures you to hire them, it’s most likely a scam
  • If someone demands payment up front, it’s most likely a scam
  • Check their ratings with the Better Business Bureau.    

Stay safe and stay warm! – the Ahead of the Curve team

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