The County of Renfrew is preparing to deliver grants and loans to low and middle income families, individuals or seniors to fix up their home or purchase one.
Under the province's Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH), a new application round is about to begin for Ontario Renovates, a home improvement program that assists low- and modest-income families and seniors. In addition, the Homeownership Program will aim to assist low-to-moderate income renter households in the region to purchase an affordable home by providing a down payment assistance in the form of a forgivable loan.
The IAH initiative is providing over $800 million in federal and provincial funding to improve access to affordable housing over the next four years. The program, which ends on March 31, 2020, aims to improve access to affordable housing that is safe, suitable and sustainable for households while allowing service managers, such as the Renfrew County Housing Corporation, with the flexibility to meet local needs and priorities identified in their housing and homelessness plans.
Those who qualify under the rules of the Ontario renovates program receive up to $10,000 for a renovation project and up to $3,500 for accessibility upgrades, explained Carol Neill, general manager of the Renfrew County Housing Corporation, which will administer both programs.
“That's an extremely popular program here in Renfrew County,” Neill told the corporation's board of directors during their annual monthly meeting. “The maximum somebody could receive from this program is $13,500.”
In order to qualify for Ontario Renovates, the property must be located in the county. The applicant must own the home that is their sole and principle residence with a market value below $220,737 and have a total household income that does not exceed $80,300. Funding is provided in the form of a 10-year, interest free forgivable loan to homeowners based on the cost of approved work items up to $10,000. Funding for accessibility repairs made to a home up to a maximum of $3,500 as based upon the cost of approved work items is in the form of a grant and does not require payment.
Applicants for the Homeownership program must be renters buying a principal residence in the county. The purchase price of a home must not exceed the average resale price of $220,737. Neill noted that, in the past, response to this program has been overwhelming and funds are committed very quickly. Complete applications are reviewed for eligibility on a first come, first serve basis.