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Pinellas increases home repair program to $75,000 with forgivable loan

Pinellas increases home repair program to ,000 with forgivable loan

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To help local residents stay in their homes and maintain their properties, Pinellas County has overhauled its state-funded Home Repair Program. Financial assistance for emergency needs, such as replacing roofs, windows and air conditioning, has been increased to up to $75,000.

This vital support now comes in the form of a fully forgivable loan, meaning homeowners who plan to move to Pinellas will not have to repay the loan or make monthly payments as long as the home is their primary residence.

The updated program, approved by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, is intended to preserve existing homes and help low-income homeowners struggling with the high costs of maintenance, homeowners insurance and major home repairs.

The province also recently increased the Independent Living Grant to help make accessibility improvements, such as wheelchair ramps or grab bars, by up to $20,000.

Homeowners who earn up to $53,500 per year as a single person ($76,400 for a family of four) may qualify for both programs to make improvements to their primary residence.

The programs are available for homes in non-affiliated Pinellas and most cities except Belleair, Largo, Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Largo have similar home repair loan forgiveness programs, and many Tampa Bay counties and cities offer other programs to help low- to moderate-income homeowners make critical repairs.

Pinellas County’s program is fully funded by the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP), which supports local governments across Florida in developing affordable housing and promoting homeownership.

The new maximum assistance, payment deferrals and loan forgiveness went into effect this month as part of an update to the county’s Local Housing Assistance Plan, approved by the Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Program details and an online application form are available at: pinellas.gov/homerepair.

Eligible Improvements

Qualified applicants may apply to one or both of the following programs for a total award of $75,000:

Home Repair Loan Program (Fully Forgivable Loan Up to $75,000)

•Roof – including fascia/fascia

•Windows and exterior doors

•Air conditioning/heating

• Electrical upgrades related to housing code

Independent Living Program (Accessibility Grant up to $20,000)

•Wheelchair ramps

•Railing

•Handles for the bathroom

•Conversion from bath to shower

•Walk-in or wheelchair accessible showers

•ADA-approved restrooms

•Door widening

•Other improvements to promote barrier-free housing

To qualify for either program, the applicant’s home must have an appraised value of $375,000, based on the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s appraisal.