New program to achieve better results
If you’ve been managing HUD Home Improvement Assistance Grants for a while now, you know how well they work to provide specific repairs for individual homes. But, they do not, and cannot, solve the bigger problem of the whole house falling out of code, and neighborhood property values going down in a tailspin. The grants are nice, but in reality, they’re a small Band-Aid trying to patch up a much bigger problem.
How grants work – and what options are coming soon
If you haven’t applied for a Community Development Block Grant and gone through the process of managing Home Improvement Assistance Grants, it’s a tremendous program that requires stealth management. You have wide flexibility in how to use the funds to improve your community. If you have low- and moderate-income residents, with houses falling into disrepair, home improvement grants are a way to provide direct help.
Most local governments managing HOME funds want the money to be distributed equitably and serve as many residents in need as possible. Generally, they limit the funding to specific repairs of $24,999. That amount may replace windows to reduce energy costs or replace an HVAC unit. The amount is capped there to avoid triggering full lead hazard control, which gets very expensive. Some governments choose to use their funds instead for down payment assistance or temporary rental assistance. Not bad choices because the money goes further and helps more people…just not the low-income homeowners who are living in unhealthy, unsafe houses…in deteriorating neighborhoods.
Shifting the thinking from home improvement to neighborhood revitalization
Capital Access has worked with local governments in managing HUD grants for 27 years. We’ve seen the difficult choices local governments must make. The money keeps putting out small fires while the whole forest is burning. The solutions have been too small for the problems, and the problems keep growing.
Jeremy Newberg, Founder & CEO of Capital Access is changing that. Instead of patching houses with individual repairs, his new program puts the investments into whole neighborhoods. Just as fixing one system doesn’t bring a house up to code – fixing one house doesn’t improve the neighborhood. But revitalizing a neighborhood benefits the greater community. Property values rise, tax revenue rises, crime decreases, as does the strain on first responders. It’s a win-win.
The CAPGEMS Home Improvement Process – Coming Soon
Next year, the CAPGEMS Home Improvement program will launch. It’s a series of solutions that feed into each other for sustainable results. This would become a more efficient and effective way to use your CBDG funds and have the assistnace and software to manage it. This is the process:
Serve the Homeowners
The program starts with improving the financial health and wealth of the homeowner, cultivating them as a collaborator in home repair. This program helps them resolve credit and financial issues, teaches financial literacy, and empowers them to become a partner in the solution.
Serve the Homes
The approach is to preserve and modernize homes with the CARE model. The result should be a good, sturdy house that will be a healthy home and an asset to the community for the next 30 years.
Code improvements for health and safety.
Accessibility improvements for those aging or with mobility issues.
Resilience improvements so the home can survive storms, and residents have backup power in an outage. Remove or replace elements that cause respiratory harm such as mold, old carpets, lead paint, etc.
Energy efficiency improvements for sustainability and affordability.
Cultivate Local Contractors & Labor
All work will be from the community involved in the program. For qualified contractors, instead of working on just one house, they will have batch assignments, with good work lined up for 2 – 3 years or more. Costs are well-defined and controlled. They receive fair pay on a weekly basis, and without the financial burden of purchasing materials.
Facilitate Partnerships among County and Community Stakeholders
This is not a program where the private company brings in workers and supplies from another state to take over the project. Capital Access provides the experienced management team and partners with the local government, local suppliers, contractors, laborers, and other community members.
Would your communities benefit?
If your current home improvement process isn’t resulting in better neighborhoods, please contact us. We’d love to help you strengthen your community.