Berks now accepting applications for home repair program

Jul. 7—For homeowners struggling to pay for critical home repairs, Berks County has launched a program to distribute state funds to those most in need.

County officials will distribute more than $3.6 million in loans to homeowners and small landlords to cover repairs that range from relatively minor fixes like patching a leaky roof to major renovations that could keep older homes inhabitable.

The county applied for the funding following passage of the Whole Home Repairs Program by state lawmakers last summer as part of the state budget. The budget allocated $125 million to the program — one of the largest investments in housing in recent history.

The program offers grants and forgivable loans for homeowners and small landlords to fix problems like drafty windows or exposed wiring. Other allowable uses for the money include measures that would improve energy efficiency or increase accessibility for residents with disabilities.

At the local level, the program will be managed by the Berks County Redevelopment Authority in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Berks County.

Josh Lewis, facilities and housing manager for the authority, said the program is designed with the expectation that participating homeowners will continue to live in the improved dwelling for at least 10 more years.

At the end of those 10 years, the loan will be considered forgiven.

If a homeowner sells a home improved by the program before 10 years have passed, a prorated amount based on the number of years spent in the house will become due.

For landlords, the financing for the program is a no-interest, deferred payment loan. No payment is required if the original applicant remains the owner of the property and the units repaired continue to be rented by low-income tenants.

Who is eligible for the program?

The program is for homeowners who reside in a single unit residential structure whose income does not exceed 80% of the area median income.

That means a single person with an income of $50,800 or less or a family of four with a household income of $72,550 or less would qualify.

The program can also assist small landlords who have ownership interest in no more than five properties and no more than 15 residential rental units if they rent to tenants whose income does not exceed 60% of the area median income.

What types of repairs are covered?

The program covers the following: new roofs, windows, doors, structural items, sidewalks, curbs and other major systems of a home.

Renovations and appliances are not covered under the program. For example, the program will not replace carpet with new flooring, nor will it cover the cost to add a new backsplash to a kitchen.

The minimum project amount is $5,000.

Where can I find an application for assistance?

Those interested can complete the application and submit supporting paperwork to the Berks County Whole Home Repair website at