Is your home cold and uncomfortable in the winter time? Are your heating bills too high? Do you need critical home repairs, but don’t know how you are going to pay for them?
King County weatherization program
Weatherization Assistance is a national program that exists to increase the energy efficiency of homes owned or occupied by low-income residents while reducing their total energy costs and improving their health and safety, including the indoor air quality of their homes.
King County Housing Authority operates a weatherization program for all of King County outside the city of Seattle. The program delivers building upgrades that may include sealing air leaks, installing insulation in the walls, attic or floor, providing appropriate mechanical ventilation, and repairing or upgrading heating systems.
King County Housing Authority’s weatherization staff visits qualified sites to identify energy conserving improvements. Then they review the scope of work and funding with the building owner. The program is free to low-income homeowners and renters, but landlords are asked to pay for some portions of the costs of the upgrades. Once work is agreed upon, the housing authority coordinates the improvements with qualified contractors and inspects their work to rigorous standards.
To qualify for weatherization, households must be low-income. For apartment complexes, coordination of eligibility is made with property managers.
Click on the image above to find out how King County is helping seniors and low income residents stay in their homes.
King County home repair program
Would you like to fix your home with a zero interest loan? Low- to moderate-income King County residents in unincorporated areas and in cities outside of Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, and Auburn can apply for housing repair assistance through the King County Housing Repair Program, part of the King County Department of Community and Human Services.
The Housing Repair Program offers multiple loan programs, which are outlined below. The repairs are performed by licensed and bonded contractors who provide you with competitive bids. The county program can help coordinate the arrangements needed to complete the project. Loan or grant funds can be used to repair or replace roofs, fix plumbing problems, upgrade electrical systems, repair or replace heating or septic systems, and resolve other critical issues so that your home remains a safe, decent place to live.
- Deferred Loan Program: Senior homeowners are encouraged to apply for the county’s Deferred Loan Program, which provides zero-interest rate loans for repairs to owner-occupied homes. Loans up to $25,000 are available to homeowners with annual gross incomes below 80 percent of King County median income (currently $69,300 for a family of four). Homeowners with poor credit or limited incomes may still qualify.
- Matching Funds Loan Program: King County’s zero-interest rate Matching Funds Loan Program has similar terms and conditions. The program provides half of the project cost as a loan and the homeowner matches the payment for the other half. The matching funds can come from borrowed funds, gifted money, or personal savings. The matching funds loan option is especially attractive when a home repair project exceeds the maximum $25,000 of basic loan funds. The County may match homeowners dollar for dollar up to an additional $25,000 to cover eligible repairs.
- Emergency Grants: Sometimes homes have situations that require emergency repairs, and King County’s Emergency Grants program may help. The grants are intended to eliminate life-threatening conditions where immediate action needs to take place. To qualify for this program, the homeowner must have a gross income below 50 percent of King County median income (currently $45,150 for a family of four). The maximum grant amount—$6,000—is not meant to be repaid. Emergency grant conditions and eligibility are determined upon site inspection by the county staff project engineers.
- Manufactured Home Grants: Mobile home owners who do not own the land where their home is located can apply for a grant of up to $8,000 for eligible repairs, which include re-roofing, bathroom repairs, doors, floors and other eligible repairs.
- Home Accessibility Modification Grants: King County renters with special needs who live in apartment buildings, leased homes, or condominiums can apply for a grant to achieve needed modifications such as wheelchair ramps, wider doorways, grab bars, transfer lifts, roll-in showers, hearing-impaired smoke detectors, and other items needed for mobility and safety. The maximum grant amount is $8,000. Property owners are required to provide written consent approving the modifications.
Homeowners and renters wishing to apply for King County’s housing loans and grants must contact the King County Housing Repair Program for initial screening and then complete an application. All applications are taken over the phone. Eligibility requirements apply. For more information, call 206-263-9095 or visit www.kingcounty.gov/housingrepair.
Weatherization and home loan programs for Seattle residents
The Seattle Office of Housing offers two programs to help income-eligible homeowners in Seattle stay comfortable and safe.
The HomeWise Weatherization Program provides FREE energy efficiency upgrades, including insulation and air sealing. Some homeowners even qualify for a heating system upgrade, like a new furnace or ductless heat pump. Program staff try to make it low hassle for homeowners. An experienced HomeWise staff person conducts a thorough energy audit and hires and manages the contractor. And best of all, HomeWise pays for all of the work.
Past clients tell the story best. One homeowner says, “I am astonished at the difference it makes! I am toasty warm.” Another says “Our home is so much more comfortable now, thanks to HomeWise.”
Seattle’s Home Repair Loan Program provides no- or low-interest loans to make critical home repairs—like new side sewers, roof replacements or electrical and plumbing system upgrades. Loan payments are designed to be affordable for homeowners with limited incomes. An experienced HomeWise staff person can help you review bids and work with your contractor.
Call the Office of Housing at 206-684-0244 or visit www.seattle.gov/housing and click on the Homeowners section.
Contributors to this article include Zach Clegg, manager of the Weatherization Program at King County Housing Authority; Clark Fulmer, King County Housing Repair Programs, Housing and Community Development; and Jennifer LaBrecque, manager of the Weatherization & Sustainable Homeownership program in the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing.