One of the most frequent types of questions we receive is, “My house needs some repairs. Can you please give me a grant?” At the core of this type of question are two underlying questions:
- What is a grant?
- Am I eligible for a grant (or other type of government assistance)?
Let’s explore the eligibility question here.
First, it’s important to make a general distinction between individuals (i.e., one person) seeking government assistance and organizations (e.g., a university, state government, or nonprofit) applying for a federal grant.
The eligibility for any grant program, or other form of government assistance, is defined in the authorizing legislation (i.e., the bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the President). Here’s more about how grant policies are made if you’re interested.
The majority of the grants found on Grants.gov are for organizations. There are some grants that individuals are eligible for, but these are for things like fellowship programs, public diplomacy programs, and conservation innovations.
Okay, but what about the money for house repairs…
For you to answer this eligibility question specifically, you must explore the eligibility of the grants currently available on Grants.gov. How? Go to the Search Grants tab, then click the “Individuals” option in the Eligibility search criteria.
This will narrow the search results—look through the titles, select any interesting or applicable funding opportunities, then read them to figure out whether you are eligible. The funding opportunity announcement will tell you who is eligible to apply for a grant.
If you do not find any grants for individuals to fund home repairs, then there are currently no such government grant opportunities on Grants.gov.
But someone said I could get free money from the government to fix my house…
If you don’t find grants you are eligible for on Grants.gov using the search method described above, here are four ways to continue your search.
1) Explore eligibility for government assistance on Benefits.gov. Read through this website and answer the series of questions in their Benefit Finder tool to see if you are eligible to apply for government assistance.
2) If you haven’t found anything on Grants.gov or Benefits.gov, then check out the Government Benefits, Grants, and Loans page on USA.gov to continue your search.
3) After checking these federal government resources, you may also want to check with your state or local government websites for additional opportunities that may exist.
4) A final option is to subscribe to the Grants.gov search, which can send you an email each time a new funding opportunity that individuals are eligible for is posted. Set up your subscription here.
Remember, though, you may not be eligible for any existing government grant or assistance programs based on your current circumstances.
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