What is Renew AC?
Renew Alameda County (Renew AC) empowers low-income homeowners to remain safely in their homes. The program provides affordable, low-interest deferred payment loans to qualified homeowners. These loans will be used for home improvement projects that help create or maintain a safe and comfortable home.
Brought to you by Alameda County Voters
The program is administered by Alameda County with funding provided by Alameda County taxpayers who approved the Measure A1 Housing Bond in November 2016. The program is operated by Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I participate in the Renew AC program?
If you’ve been putting off home improvements that seem too expensive, Renew AC can bring those goals within reach. With an affordable, low-interest deferred payment loan, you can create a safer, more comfortable environment for your family.
Is it difficult and time-consuming for me to participate in the program? Why not just work with another lender like a bank?
The experts at Habitat for Humanity will partner with you to create a smooth experience. Habitat staff will work directly with you on all aspects of your home improvement process. They are available to help you sort out your application documentation, walk you through loan processing and permitting, and provide end-to-end construction management. Unlike a typical bank loan, with Renew AC you get professional technical assistance throughout the entire construction process.
What are the loan terms?
Renew AC’s loans are designed to take the financial burden out of home improvement. The loans:
- are between $15,000 and $200,000 depending on your needs
- are low-interest: simple interest rate of 1% accrued annually, with interest total never to exceed 50% of the principal amount borrowed
- do not require payments for a term of 30 years. At the end of the 30 year Loan Term, the loan may be extended for an additional 30-year period, so long as the low-income homeowner is not in default of any of the initial qualifying program requirements or terms.
The loan will be due and payable before the end of its term if the property ceases to be owner-occupied or when the property transfers to an owner who does not qualify to assume the loan. If the owner passes away, surviving children may automatically assume the loan. Qualified buyers approved by the Program Administrator can assume the loan provided they owner-occupy the home and meet the eligibility requirements.
Will my children have to repay the loan when I pass on?
Surviving children can assume the loan as mandated by California law. The loan will not have to be repaid but will remain in place and will continue to be a lien on the home.
Do I get to pick the construction vendor(s)?
Yes. Once you have settled on the work to be performed using Renew AC funds, contractors who can offer bids on your project will be identified. You are welcomed and encouraged to invite licensed, bonded contractors to bid on the project if you’ve received personal recommendations. You will review the bids received and select a contractor. Renew AC staff will be available for to provide support and to answer any questions you may have.
Can I stay in my home during construction?
In the majority of cases, arrangements are made to allow residents to remain in their home while the work is completed. However, there may be certain projects where work cannot occur safely while the home is occupied. In those cases, the homeowner will work with Renew program staff to determine an acceptable plan. This could include rethinking how to phase the work in a way to allow in-home sequestration, or the homeowner temporarily staying with a friend, family member, or at local hotel. Relocation support may be offered subject to availability and program administer discretion.
What kinds of repairs can I do? How much control do I have to pick what I want done?
The Renew AC program was developed to help seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income homeowners stay safely in their homes and to avoid being displaced either due to the home no longer being accessible to them or due to deteriorated conditions. Renew AC is available for a variety of home improvement projects, provided that they qualify as “acquisition or improvement of real property” as defined by the California Constitution. This means that qualifying projects make legitimate improvements to the property, meaning that fixtures and materials become part of the land or the building in the course of the work. “Home repair” projects, considered to be ordinary repairs, maintenance, and supplies, do not qualify, while major systems (such as a roof or rewiring your electrical or upgrading your electrical panel) and building components do.
If you are eligible, a Renew AC inspector will meet you at your home to talk to you about which items on your wishlist are eligible for the funds and will develop a list of eligible improvements that can be funded by Renew AC. Commonly, home repairs fit into three broad groups: Health & Safety Hazards, Accessibility, and Structural Rehabilitation.