Homeowners struggling to afford repairs can get help from Habitat for Humanity

Moncton homeowners on low-incomes could be eligible for low-interest loans for house repairs under a new program being launched by Habitat for Humanity.

The program, called Renew-It, is for repairs that address accessibility, energy efficiency and health and safety. 

The non-profit organization has offered the program in communities across the country.

"Everyone deserves a decent place to live and remain in their home," said Chantal Landry, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Moncton.

For years, Landry said, Habitat has received requests from low-income homeowners for help with maintenance. 

"We're not only about building homes and creating new homeowners but also allowing homeowners to remain in their home," she said in an interview with Information Morning Moncton.

She said the older the house and the fewer renovations it's had, the more work needs to be done. 

Renovations that could qualify might include repairing a roof to make the home more energy-efficient or installing new windows. 

"We're not there to make things prettier or more sellable."

A homeowner whose only access to the house is by a rotting deck might be eligible for deck repairs.

"That's a health and safety issue that needs to be addressed," Landry said.

Repairing homes together 

Many families don't have resources or know how to repair their homes. She hopes the new program will help residents learn.

"We are also there to support these families in getting better knowledge and better skills," she said. 

"We are not just there to go in and do it for them. Just like we build homes, we expect our families to build the home with us."

The program is set to roll out this month and organizers are hoping to repair three to five houses over the next year. This will also allow the group to get a better understanding of what the program's needs are so it can go to companies and suggest ways they can contribute to the program.

We're not there to enable them. We're there to empower them.  - Chantal Landry, Habitat for Humanity Moncton

Habitat for Humanity Moncton says homeowners from across southern New Brunswick can apply to the renovation program on the charity's website.

Applicants must meet certain criteria. For instance, they must have owned the property for at least five years, must fall within a certain income bracket and have home insurance. Homeowners who qualify will have to complete a full application.

Residents who fit the criteria and get loans will make loan payments based on their incomes. Once that money is paid back it will be used for the next household that needs household repairs.

The organization will visit a homeowner's house to see what the needs are. 

"We're not there to enable them," Landry said. "We're there to empower them."