BRADDOCK, PA - OCTOBER 13: Street scenes from the historical steel mill town of Braddock, Pennsylvania on October 13, 2016. Braddock was once a thriving center of America's steel industry but once the mills closed, it suffered severe economic decline and depopulation. Efforts are being made to repurpose many of the abandoned buildings for art projects and community development, and U.S. Steel's Edgar Thomson mill is still operational. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images) America's deindustralization as seen in Braddock, PA
BRADDOCK, PA - OCTOBER 13: Street scenes from the historical steel mill town of Braddock, Pennsylvania on October 13, 2016. Braddock was once a thriving center of America's steel industry but once the mills closed, it suffered severe economic decline and depopulation. Efforts are being made to repurpose many of the abandoned buildings for art projects and community development, and U.S. Steel's Edgar Thomson mill is still operational. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Whole-Home Repairs Program offers grants and loans to homeowners and landlords who struggle to pay for necessary home repairs. It also trains workers for construction-related jobs.

Christmas is coming early for counties in Pennsylvania as the Department of Community and Economic Development recently announced that they can start applying for funds from a new home repair program as early as Dec. 12.

Counties or county-designated organizations can apply for funding from the Whole-Home Repairs Program’s $125 million allotment from Dec. 12 through Jan. 31. The state will review applications on a rolling basis.

The Whole-Home Repairs Program is a state initiative geared toward helping lower to middle-income residents who might struggle to pay for necessary repairs, and could be forced from their homes as a result. It also trains workers for construction-related jobs. 

The funding for the program was included in this year’s state budget and came from federal American Rescue Plan money and a budget surplus.

“The Whole-Home Repairs Program was born from the notion that no one should be denied a home that is safe, a home that is healthy, simply because they don’t have the resources they need to fix them,” Sen. Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia), the prime sponsor of the legislation that created the program, said in a statement.

The program awards funds to government and nonprofit entities to distribute to qualifying homeowners and landlords.

Funds must be used for:

  • Habitability concerns (leaking roof, bad plumbing, etc.)
  • Energy or water efficiency improvements
  • Accessibility for persons with disabilities

Counties can apply for portions of the more than $125 million available. The amount of money each county is eligible to receive is based on Census Bureau data on median income by household size, the age of housing stock, and the number of households that meet certain income limits.

Counties must opt into the program and not all are expected to apply. Any funds that counties do not claim will be redistributed to counties that applied.

Counties will use funds to create and/or run grant and loan programs. Money for home repairs and weatherization will be targeted to low-income homeowners and small landlords.

Grants of up to $50,000 will be available for homeowners making up to 80% of the area median income.

Small landlords are eligible for loans of up to $50,000 per rental unit if they rent homes at prices that are affordable to tenants making at or below 60% of area median income.

Qualifying homeowners and landlords should be able to submit an application for funds in the spring. According to Saval, the hope is that homeowners will start receiving funds in the spring or summer.

Funds also will go toward workforce development programs that connect trainees with jobs related to residential construction. Investments can include cash stipends for trainees and paying for apprenticeships and on-the-job training.