Maintaining Your Property is Hard


Homeowner Resource Information Repairs, Modifications & Maintenance

There are 206,000 older (age 60+) persons in Philadelphia who own their homes. Many of these homes were built more than 50 years ago and are in need of both minor and major repairs. Many are also inaccessible for those with limited or impaired mobility. Here are some ideas and resources to help:

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA)

PCA repairs and modifies homes for qualified people 60 and older, or with disabilities. PCA’s housing department conducts minor and major home repairs and carries out modifications to make homes more accessible to older adults and those with disabilities. Many of these repairs are carried out at no cost to consumers through PCA’s premiere Senior Housing Assistance Repair Program (SHARP). With over 30 years’ experience, PCA’s home repair and modification program offers value-based pricing for services including:

Minor:

  • Installing grab bars and hand-held showers
  • Adapting bathroom fixtures
  • Installing hand railings and intercoms
  • Repairing, installing or widening exterior doors
  • Installing dead-bolt locks
  • Repairing leaky faucets and toilets
  • Installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms

Major:

  • Building first-floor full or half-bathrooms
  • Installing interior and exterior stair glides
  • Installing exterior wheelchair lifts

For more information, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040.

In addition to PCA, there are other non-profits and City Agencies that can assist you, regardless of age, with repairs and modifications, perhaps covering the costs entirely or at a discount. Most of these are income-based. Research or ask around.  Some are listed here:

  • City programs:
    • The Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP) provides free repairs to correct electrical, plumbing, heating, structural and roofing emergencies in eligible owner-occupied homes in Philadelphia.
    • The Adaptive Modifications Program (AMP) is designed to help low-income individuals with permanent physical disabilities live more independently in their homes. It provides free adaptations to a house or an apartment, allowing easier access to and mobility within the home.
    • Restore, Repair, Renew is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia to help Philadelphia homeowners access low-interest loans to invest in their properties. Lenders participating in the program are offering 10-year, 3% fixed Annual Percentage Rate loans that range from $2,500 to $24,999 to eligible homeowners. Restore, Repair, Renew loans can fund a range of home repairs that focus on health, safety, weatherization, accessibility, and quality of life.
    • PA Energy Services, funded by Philadelphia’s DHCD. ECA provides heating system repair services and also weatherization assistance.
  • Other programs:
    • Habitat for Humanity – http://www.habitatphiladelphia.org, 215-765-6000, Habitat offers home repair services to homeowners so they can continue to live in safe, decent homes for years to come. Some of their home repair work includes painting, landscaping, weatherization and minor repair services to preserve home exteriors and revitalize neighborhoods.
    • Rebuilding Together – http://www.rebuildingphilly.org, 215-965-0777.  Through critical home repairs and home modifications in underserved communities, they address the connection between health and housing, while preserving the existing affordable housing landscape across the US.
    • Urban Resources Development Corporation (URDC), http://buildgermantown.org, 267-289-2159.  URDC is a Philadelphia-based 501c(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to stabilize communities in Germantown, Mt. Airy, and northwest Philadelphia through home repair and rehabilitation.
    • The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters.

PECO

Get FREE energy-saving upgrades if you qualify (income based

You can’t control everything. But with a FREE Energy Checkup, you can control your energy costs. PECO can help make your home more energy efficient and comfortable year round. For a qualifying PECO customer.

Here’s what you can get with a FREE Energy Checkup:

  • A PECO energy advisor will visit your home and show you ways to save energy and money. The visit usually takes 1-2.5 hours, depending on the type of home and heating system, and appointments are available between 8 am and 6 pm.
  • FREE energy-saving items that may include:
    • LED light bulbs
    • Smart power strips
    • Water saving showerhead(s)*
    • Kitchen and bathroom aerator(s)*
  • personalized report with recommendations for improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Evaluation of your refrigerator and other major appliances. If the appliance qualifies, it can be replaced with an energy-efficient model, free of charge.
  • Have electric heat? You might be eligible for FREE insulation and air sealing. The PECO energy advisor will need to perform advanced diagnostic testing, including a blower door test and thermal imaging, to pinpoint air leaks and identify energy-saving opportunities.

Call 1-888-5-PECO-SAVE (1-888-573-2672) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to confirm your eligibility and to schedule your PECO in-home energy checkup. If you do not meet the household income requirement. For those not income eligible, a PECO Energy Assessment will cost $49.00

Utility Rebates & Discounts

There are rebates offered on the purchase of appliances, heaters, water heaters, etc.  Check with PECO and PGW. 

There are discounts on lighting purchases.  Look for PECO Instant Discount sticker on products at the stores.

Self-financed repairs:

  • Get a Home warranty.  These programs have an annual cost but cover many products in the home.  The PGW program will repair gas appliances.  There are also companies that real estate agents offer for new home buyers, but these same companies offer their warranty program to existing home owners.  The terms, conditions and appliances vary, but worth looking into to save on future repairs.
  • Do it yourself.  There are instructions everywhere online, TV shows or in books.  There are also tool libraries (places to rent tools). 
  • Seek out a handyman or small contractor
  • Check business lists for local companies (ibuyblack, Beech Interplex Black Business Guide, Black Yellow Pages, Christian Business Guide, etc)
  • There are small non-profits that might do the work at less cost:  Trades For A Difference, Youthbuild, etc.
  • There are trade schools that might need training locations.

Find products:

  • Free – use items already in your house
  • Find things for free – online buy-nothing groups, Free section of craigslists, etc)
  • Scrap/Giveaways – Someone’s trash is another’s treasure.
  • Thrift stores and flea markets
  • Architectural salvage stores.  Several in the City and the region.  However, some non-profit stores might have the best prices.  They are:
    • Habitat Restores – many stores around the region.  Philadelphia store at 2318 Washington Ave
    • Philly Reclaim Store – 5200 Unruh Ave
    • Metal scrap yards, etc

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