Frequently Asked Questions

What services does the program provide?

The services of the HIP program include: performing rehab inspections; estimating costs; establishing a rehab plan; managing and monitoring the rehab; assisting with a loan application for financing; obtaining a rehab loan; counseling on property management and maintenance issues; and working with tenants to assure that their rent is affordable.

How does the program work?

HRI works with property owners to determine the level of rehab that is needed. Work specifications are written and several contractors will review the proposed work and submit a bid. A financial analysis is performed to insure that the loan is affordable. Loans are approved and a contractor is selected. The loan closes and the rehab begins. The entire rehab process is supervised by HRI to assure it is done properly.

What properties are eligible for HRI assistance?

Properties that are owner occupied, house between one and four families, and are at least 50% residential are eligible for HRI assistance. The applicant must also fall within the income limits (see right sidebar) set forth by the Community Development Block grant program, and typically must own his or her house for at least one year.

What type of rehab is eligible under the program?

HIP is a moderate rehab program. Priority is given to the following rehab needs: health and safety hazards; weatherization and energy conserving improvements; lead paint hazards; remodeling to accommodate the handicapped; exterior upgrading.

How does the program help property owners?

HRI makes the entire rehab process easier by providing both financial and technical assistance to property owners who wish to rehab their property. This assistance will result in improved buildings that will be financially manageable and more attractive. Owners who are concerned that renovating their property might result in unaffordably high rents for their tenants, can now do the rehab and keep their tenants’ rents affordable.

How does the program help tenants?

The program’s goal is to assist property owners in renovating apartments while keeping costs affordable. Below-market rehab loan financing allows owners to keep their costs low. Tenants will not only have improved housing conditions but will also be able to afford the rent.

How do I apply?

If you believe that you meet the eligibility requirements outlined above, you can either call the office at (617) 868-4858, or simply come by the office at 280 Franklin Street, Cambridge, conveniently located in Central Square. You are then briefly prescreened for eligibility. If you qualify and want to apply, you will receive an application along with other documents to complete and return to the office.


Income Requirements

Home Improvement Program

Income Limits*

HH Size 30% of Median 50% of Median 80% of Median 120% of Median
1 person $20,650 $34,350 $51,150   $82,440
2 persons $23,600 $39,250 $58,450   $94,200
3 persons $26,550 $44,150 $65,750 $105,960
4 persons $29,450 $49,050 $73,050 $117,720
5 persons $31,850 $53,000 $78,900 $127,200
6 persons $34,200 $56,900 $84,750 $136,560
7 persons $36,730 $60,850 $90,600 $146,040
8 persons $40,890 $64,750 $96,450 $155,400

* Includes gross income from all sources of adult household members. These income limits are revised periodically. The above figures are effective as of 12/10/12.


If you have further questions regarding the HIP program, please call Jennifer Jonassaint at (617) 868-4858 x 215.