Home Improvement Grants Help Crystal Residents with Aging Housing Stock

Home Improvement

4:27 PM | Thursday, September 28, 2023

Homeowners in Crystal can fix up their house for less thanks to a program that’s been around for years, but one you may not know about.

Crystal’s Home Improvement Grant program allows homeowners to fix up their house at a discounted price, thanks to funds collected through taxes and tax increment funds.

Crystal Community Development Director John Sutter said the program began in the 1990s. At that time, city leaders realized most of the city’s housing was built around the same time: between 1940 and 1970. Because of that, buildings were also beginning to wear out at the same time.

“It was especially important to preserve affordability by preserving that housing,” Sutter said.

Homeowners can receive 20 percent of their project all the way up to $8,000.

To access the grants, the owner of the property must occupy that residence. There’s a maximum household income required to access the money. For a single person, their maximum income must be $78,300. For a family of eight, maximum income must be $164,000.

Sutter said most households qualify.

“We definitely think it has helped maintain Crystal’s housing and its neighborhood,” Sutter said.

Since the program started, Sutter said roughly 90 people took advantage of the program a year.

A New Look

Joanne Segner is one of those Crystal neighbors.

“My house was built in the 1960s,” Segner said. “So it has the original windows. In the winter time, they frost up quite badly.”

Segner’s been saving for many years to redo her siding. She said it’s a big expense and a purchase she was nervous to take on.

“I don’t really get a lot of new things,” Segner said. “I saved the money, and I’m spending it and I hope everything turns out really, really good!”

window installation in crystal

A worker installs a new window on Joanne Segner’s house. The Crystal Home Improvement Grant partially funded this project.

She applied for the grant earlier this year. It lifted a weight off her pocketbook: the project was originally set to cost $45.00 and dropped down significantly with help from the city.

“It roughly comes to $8,000 that I can use for the windows and the siding,” Segner said. “Eight thousand dollars for me, who doesn’t have a lot of money, is a big deal.”

She said she was grateful to the company she chose to contract with: Midwest.

She plans to change her siding color from pale yellow to blue. It’s a welcome change.

“Been here 45 years with this color, so something new!” Segner said.

More information about the home improvement grant is available online.

The City of New Hope recently introduced a similar program.