Palace Chrysler-Jeep


Oakland County Home Improvement Program

April 06, 2011 - Falling property values have made selling homes a challenge, but Oakland County can help you make your current home nicer, without costing you anything until you move.

The Oakland County Home Improvement Program, funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been in existence since 1975 and is designed to help low and moderate income county residents improve their living conditions.

Qualified residents can have any number of home improvements done, including roofs, windows, doors, furnaces, new boilers, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, foundation work, insulation, wiring, and even new septic fields and wells. The only improvements not done are additions to the home and garages.

"Our program is a loan program, however, loans are zero percent interest and repayment is deferred until you no longer live in the house or it's no longer your principal residence," said Gordon Lambert, chief of operations for the Oakland County Community and Home Improvement Division. "We are the fiduciary— we have contractors do the work and pay the contractors when the work is partially complete, or all the way done."

The Home Improvement Program services 50 communities in the county, including Brandon and Groveland townships. Typical contracts are $18,000, although in some cases, a deferred loan of $20,000 may be given. Eligibility for the program is determined by income. For a family of one, income can not be higher than $39,100. A family of four can not have an income greater than $55,850. The scale continues to slide up, and a family of eight must have an income of less than $73,850.

"We do a lot of work for single parents and the elderly," said Lambert. "We put a lien on the property and there must be enough equity in the property to support the lien. Unfortunately, this eliminates some people because of this crazy, insane housing market."

Around 200 contracts are given per year, on a first-come, first-served basis. Lambert said he hasn't been turning anyone away. Mortgage payments and property taxes must be current. Once eligibility is determined, a technician is sent out to help write specs, with homeowner input. The county has six contractors they work with, all lead abatement contractors, so if a home has lead paint, they will fix it. Asbestos can also be addressed as part of the contract. No money is handled by the homeowner.

"The program has been very successful," he said. "We insure that the homeowner gets what they are looking for, the work is acceptable, and make sure the proper building permits are pulled... If you need help, we're here to help you."

For more information, go to or call toll-free 1-888-350-0900 ext.85401.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
Email Link
Clarkston Cleaning
SPI Subscriptions
The Oxford Leader
Site Search