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Have you been putting off replacing your home's roof or completing other repairs because of the high cost?

An interest-free, deferred loan through the York County Planning Commission can lessen or eliminate the immediate impact on the wallets of qualifying homeowners.

The federally funded Home Improvement Program (HIP) allows qualifying homeowners to receive loans of up to $25,000 to make needed repairs to their homes, said Kim Walston, financial specialist with the planning commission.

"It's for needed repairs, not cosmetic ones," she said.

Repairs: Work covered by the program includes repairs to a roof or heating, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as replacing windows, doors and sidewalks. The money can also be used to complete handicapped modifications, such as adding a wheelchair ramp, Walston said.

The program is one of many homeowner programs offered through the county.

Since the HIP loans are deferred, a homeowner doesn't have to repay it until the home is sold, Walston said.

To qualify, a homeowner must meet income requirements, the home must be owner-occupied and the area of the home to receive repairs must be deemed substandard by the local housing code or the program's rehabilitation standards.

Income limits range from $39,400 for a single-person household to $74,250 for a family of eight, according to the planning commission.

Funding for the county's HIP comes from yearly Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocations through HUD and totaled $250,000 this year, said Dory Brannon, chief of the planning commission's housing division.

The program is also funded through loan repayments.

That pot has $195,000 in it, she said.

"We have some loans that are now coming back to us from 20 years ago," Brannon said. "It's a very healthy program."

Though the program has been around for decades, Brannon said not all residents know about it, and the planning commission is working to spread the word about it.

No city owners: HIP is open to any York County homeowner who doesn't live in York City.

City residents are excluded from the program because the city receives its own yearly CDBG allocation.

The city Bureau of Housing Services previously offered its own version of HIP, but federal funding cuts about six years ago caused local officials to ax the program, according to James Crosby, deputy director of housing services.

But city homeowners can apply for a loan through the Renovate & Repair Loan Program, a program similar to the county's HIP but offered through Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Crosby said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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