July 6, 2022 –
City channels $3.3 million grant to Homewise for home rehab work
Homewise, the Barelas nonprofit mortgage lender and developer, has long been in the business of lending people money to make critical home repairs (DAN, 4/28/22), but following the recent City Council approval of a $3.3 million grant, they will soon be writing checks to low-income homeowners that don’t have to be paid back.
Many of the details still have to be worked out with the Keller administration and the program is not expected to launch until the fall, but the basics look like this: Homeowners living within the city limits making less than 80 percent of the area’s median income (something like $43,000 per year for a household) would be eligible, and they will select their own contractors and manage the repair process.
The money can’t be used for cosmetic purposes or additions, said Elena Gonzales, the Homewise senior director for policy and resource development. She expects most of it to be devoted to roofing and pipes – the sort of problems that do more damage if left unattended.
“You can’t have leaks and plumbing issues for too long,” Gonzales said. “We forsee this money being used for urgent repairs.”
Besides helping with everyday quality of life, such projects can actually keep people in their homes in the long run, Gonzales said.
“Everything improves once you get those needed repairs done,” she said. “We have to protect the home over our heads.”
Though administered by the city, the money comes via the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress.