Through the HomeWorks Home Equity Loan Program (HELP), you may be eligible to receive an interest-free loan for a variety of approved home repair projects. The Boston Home Center will partner with you through the entire home repair process, helping you find a contractor, monitor work quality, and ensure a post renovation inspection.
What are the benefits?
- Receive an interest-free loan of up to $10,000 for a single-family home; up to $15,000 for a two-family home; and up to $20,000 for a three-family home for approved interior and exterior repairs
- Take advantage of free home repair bid review by the city's construction specialists before your project begins
- Receive a final inspection by the city's construction specialists once your project is complete for quality assurance
- Some condo associations (of up to six units) may be eligible for assistance with special assessments or common area repairs
Who is eligible?
Must own and occupy a 1-4 family home or condo in Boston
Must have a household income at or below 120% of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Area Median Income (AMI) limits.
Must adhere to the following HomeWorks HELP funding terms:
- At least one-third of the loan funds must be used for exterior repairs. This portion of the loan will be forgiven after five years.
- For those households with an annual income above 100% HUD AMI, homeowner must be able to provide a dollar for dollar match to the funding amount provided by the City. (Homeowners with an annual income that is at or below 100% AMI may not be required to provide matching funds.) View HUD Income Limits
- Homeowners who relocate, sell, receive a cash-out refinance, or transfer the deed to their home must repay the loan in full at zero interest.
What types of repairs are eligible? *
Some examples of interior repairs with standard finishes and grades are:
- Perform health and safety repairs (* Please note: interior and exterior health and safety repairs must be addressed before other home repair projects)
- Repair or replace a heating system
- Repair or upgrade an inadequate electrical system
- Replace a kitchen or bathroom
- Repair flooring
Some examples of exterior repairs with standard finishes and grades are:
- Repair or replace a porch
- Repair or replace a roof
- Restore a foundation
- Repair or replace clapboards or vinyl siding
- Replace windows
* Please note: 'luxury' repair items are not eligible for funding. Examples of ineligible repair projects: adding a granite counter top, installing a jacuzzi, landscaping work, adding a driveway or new living space.
Please note: You may also be eligible for additional Boston Home Center home repair programs for certain projects having to do with lead abatement. Please call the Boston Home Center at 617.635.HOME to learn more.
How do I apply and what happens next?
- Choose a home repair project and get at least two estimates from licensed, insured contractors
- Apply for HomeWorks HELP funding
Please print and complete the following forms, before returning signed copies to the Boston Home Center:
A construction specialist will arrange to visit your home to review and approve the scope of work of your project.
- Complete paperwork and finalize your HomeWorks HELP loan
Once the construction specialist approves your project and contractor's cost estimate, you will be ready to sign documents for your loan, the amount of which is based on household income and project repair costs.
Begin repair work on your home
After you receive a commitment letter from the City, you may sign a contract with your contractor who will pull permits and begin construction. When the repair work on your home is complete, submit a final invoice from your contractor and a copy of the building permit to the Boston Home Center. A construction specialist will conduct a final review of the completed repair work.
- Adhere to your loan agreement
You are responsible for paying back your HomeWorks HELP loan to the city in accordance with your loan agreement. If you move, sell, refinance or otherwise transfer the property, the loan must be fully repaid.
For more information about HomeWorks HELP, call:
The Boston Home Center
Department of Neighborhood Development
Phone: 617.635.HOME (4663)
* Dollar amounts and financial assistance offers represent conditional and/or deferred loans. Primary mortgage/refinance/rehabilitation loans must be secured by the applicant.
Some programs cannot be combined.
Income eligibility and other restrictions may apply, including repair types and property location.
Back to Boston Home Center