HEATING & AIR REPAIR & REPLACEMENT PROGRAM (HARRP)
Local residents are all too familiar with the brutal cold brought upon by the North Carolina mountain winters, and simply turning up a thermostat is often taken for granted. For those who do not have that option, this is an especially difficult period purely from a survival aspect. With the cost of repairs being so high, many families resort to more hazardous methods that continue to negatively affect their energy bill.
Mountain Projects Heating and Air Replacement Program provides assistance for: families with children, elderly clients, and those with disabilities with income below 200% of the federal poverty line. There is no requirement for home ownership to receive assistance. Those in apartment communities have responsibilities with their landlord; specifics are readily available upon inquiry.
Repairs can be made to systems already in place, but the fuel source cannot be changed unless approved by the state (on a case by case basis). Example: if you have a gas heater, an electric heater cannot be installed, etc.. This program is designed specifically for emergencies with a primary heating source, not secondary. All heating systems installed must be vented.
To apply, you must provide proof of income with documentation.
Heating and Air Replacement Assistance is available for the following dwellings:
- Single-Family Homes
- Mobile Homes
Examples of Heating Sources we can assist you with repairing or replacing are:
- Broken Furnaces, Electric, Oil or Gas
- HVAC Systems
Safe at Home
The Safe at Home Program under SMHP provides minor modifications and upkeep to low or fixed-income residents over 60. This is an important effort to improve quality of life and protect the at-risk from hazard and injury while also removing any financial burden. These measures act as a failsafe against home deterioration and increase the overall safety level of each residence specific to the individual’s needs. The goal of this program is to keep residents safely in the comfort of their homes and out of a hospital or institution.
Assistance Available for Home Modifications:
- Building Ramps, Steps, and Handrails
- Installing Grab Bars
- Fall Prevention Modifications
- Security Enhancements (Deadbolts & Window Locks)
- Repair of an Emergency Response System
- Installation of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Widening of Doorways
- Appliance Repair or Replacement
Who is eligible for Safe at Home?
To qualify for repairs residents must: be over the age of 60, subject to low or fixed income, have no other source of income that could cover the expense, own the home or have written permission from a landlord, and must not have any other residence. Modifications and repairs are expertly handled by SMHP staff, paid subcontractors, and volunteers.
How can I help?
SMHP is always grateful for volunteer assistance, monetary donations, and donated resources. There are also simple ways everyone can assist. If you are visiting the home of someone who may be at-risk, a quick inspection is an easy and proactive measure to identify safety concerns. Informing friends or neighbors of these directives will help spread home-accident prevention throughout your community!
Simple Inspection Measures:
- Making sure entrances are free and clear of clutter.
- Check for loose handrails and steps.
- Check that all locks on doors and windows work.
- Adequate lighting is throughout the residence.
- Inspect all appliances for safety and that they are in good working order.
- Check for telephone access available in multiple rooms of the home.
Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation
The NC Housing Finance Agency provides funding for SMHP to rehabilitate existing, moderately-deteriorated, single-family dwellings. The SMHP Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation program utilizes these funds by repairing, improving, and modernizing existing homes owned by those who otherwise could not afford the improvements. This program aspires to provide the necessary improvements to keep each of our citizens comfortably in their own homes.
- Replacing Windows
- Roof Replacement
- Repair Holes in Siding
- Floor Repair
- Repair Heating and Electrical Needs
Who is eligible for the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation funds?
You may be eligible for assistance in repairs if you meet the following:
- Your home has an occupant that is elderly, disabled, and/or a veteran on a full-time basis.
- Your home has lead hazards and is occupied by a child that is six years old or younger.
- The total household income must be below 80% of the area’s median income.
- The home must be owned by the applicant.
Rehabilitation Loan Pool
Every three years, all counties in the state are eligible for funding provided by the NC Housing Finance Agency posted on their website. Their dispersal of funds is on a first-come, first-serve basis. As such, SMHP actively monitors when finances are available specifically for our Western North Carolina counties. Nonetheless, applications for home rehabilitation are accepted at any time.
Why rehabilitate existing homes in Western North Carolina?
Due to the rising cost of homeownership and rental properties in our region, we feel it is imperative to work with pre-existing homes and their residents. The modernization of existing homes also limits the need to spend on the development of difficult mountain terrain for new construction.
The current poverty rate in this region is 24% higher than the national average and 13% higher than other regions in the state. These statistics intensify SMHP’s commitment to these programs, and to providing all who are at-risk with the safety and comfort at home everyone deserves.
The NC Housing Agency also funds SMHP’s Urgent Repair Program. No matter how much an individual or family can sometimes prepare, emergencies do happen. However, an emergency repair can become a financial disaster for a cost-burdened homeowner — examples of emergency repairs are failing septic systems, rotting floors, and more. This is especially true for seniors and the disabled due to physical and financial limitations when it comes to home maintenance.
In North Carolina, more than a third of adults over the age of 50 are housing cost-burdened, which means that they pay more than 30% of their monthly income on expenses relating to their home. When these seniors’ homes become unsafe, they are then forced into institutional care, which comes at a high price.
Did you know that nationally the fees associated with living in a long-term care facility average between $41,000 to upwards of $85,000? In contrast, the costs for an elderly adult or disabled individual to stay at home is around $30,000 a year. Taxpayers typically cover the gap of the expenses between care in a facility for an older adult, or one who is disabled, through Medicaid and Medicare programs. It is beneficial to everyone if a senior can remain in their home.
Urgent Repair Program
However, with the funds available through the Urgent Repair Program, we can help aging homeowners stay in their own homes and improve their overall quality of life. However, the repair that is needed must pose an imminent threat to the life or safety of the resident, and they must also be the homeowner.
Urgent repairs we can assist with are:
- Repair of Leaking Roofs
- Electrical Repairs
- Replace of Rotting Floors or Stairs
- Modifications to Prevent Imminent Displacement
- Repair of Leaking Sinks
- Dangerous Heating Systems
- Failing Septic Systems
Who is eligible for the Urgent Repair Program
You may qualify for this program if you are the following:
- An elderly homeowner 62 years of age or older.
- A disabled individual or veteran.
- Your household income is 50% less of the county median income.
- Child in the home below the age of 6 with an elevated blood lead level.
- A large family (5 or more).
When the winter months arrive in the counties of Western North Carolina, the temperatures can drop quickly. However, for low-income families simply turning up the thermostat is not an option. Poverty-stricken individuals and families pay 14% more of their annual incomes for energy consumption compared to the 3.5% of the budget from those with more substantial salaries. Those who are unable to pay the expense gap and/or heavy reconnection fees are often left to fend for themselves. Rising energy costs have also left many enduring the winter months without adequate heat.
The severity of this issue inspired the Department of Energy to create the Weatherization Assistance Program; designed to reduce the energy burden on low-income families by installing cost, and energy-efficient modifications. SMHP has aligned with this service to improve homes in our community.
SMHP has technicians that conduct home inspections using advanced equipment and diagnostic technologies to determine which modifications will prove most energy efficient. Using tools such as blower doors and duct blasters, our technicians and their crew will assess the situation, develop the most energy and cost-efficient plan, and install the necessary changes. The result is an average 20% reduction in energy use, meaning great savings for the homeowner and their family!
Weatherization of a home includes the following:
- Testing for Gas Leaks
- Checking Combustible Appliances (Stoves, Furnaces, Water Heaters)
- Installation of Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Sealing Infiltration Sites (Installing Insulation, Sealing Leaky Ducts, Weather Stripping, etc.)
- Addressing Areas of Heat Waste (Wrapping Water Heaters, Pipe Insulation, etc.)
What Weatherization Does NOT Do:
- Replace Doors
- Replace Windows
- Make major home repairs such as new roofs, floors, plumbing, electrical work, etc.
- Lay Carpet
- Mold Remediation
- Lead-Based Paint and Asbestos Abatements
The Weatherization program works with applicants who are below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Priority is given to the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and families with children. Our mission is to improve the energy efficiency of homes and bring heat and comfort to families in need.