A community transformed by thriving families in sustainable homes.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility – How Do I Get Help?

How to Apply

Repair Program

Weatherization Program

Education Program

About Community Homeworks

Eligibility and Application

I’m having a problem at my house – can you help me?

The answer to that question starts with some questions for you:

  • Do you live in Kalamazoo County? (Note: At certain times during the year, we may have funds for work within the city of Kalamazoo but not elsewhere in the county.)
  • Do you own your home or are you purchasing it with a mortgage?
  • Do you meet our income requirements?
  • Is the problem covered in our list of available services?

If the answers to those questions are yes, please get in touch with us by submitting an application or contacting our office.

How do I know if I am eligible for your programs?

We have two primary requirements for our Critical Repair, Education, and Weatherization Programs:

  1. You must own and also be living in your home. It is fine if you have a mortgage, but we don’t work in mobile homes or homes purchased on a land contract.
  2. Household income – your total household income has to be at or below a certain amount based on the number of people living in the household. The guideline we use is called Area Median Income (AMI) and it is calculated each year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To qualify for our programs, your total household income cannot be above 80% of AMI.
Repair & Education Programs - household number and income guidelines
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For our Weatherization program only, the funding we have available requires slightly different income guidelines:

Weatherization Progam - household number and income guidelines
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I don’t live in Kalamazoo County – what options do I have?

One good place to start is with the Community Action Agency in your county – you can find a complete list on the Michigan Community Action Network’s resource page.
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How do I apply?

You can download our Client Eligibility & Application Packet or feel free to call our office to request one by mail. We ask that you submit your application with all the required documents so that we can verify your eligibility.

What documents do I have to have?

In order to be considered for services, we have to have documents that show your total household income, and show that you own and live in the home.

For income verification, everyone over 18 living in the home must provide:

  • 30 days of pay stubs AND a signed Federal tax return OR your most recent 90 days of pay stubs
  • Most recent two months of bank statements
  • Proof of any other income (Social Security, pension, disability, unemployment, etc.)

To prove ownership and occupancy, we require:

  • Driver’s license or State ID with correct address
  • Your utility bill
  • A copy of the Deed to your home

You can get more detailed information and instructions on where to get some of these documents in our Client Eligibility & Application Packet.

What can I expect when I apply?

Once you have submitted your complete application, we review your documents and verify that you qualify. Once you’ve been accepted, we will schedule a site visit for our field technicians to assess the issue and write up an estimate. Work is scheduled based on a number of issues, including availability of funding, weather, other emergency requests, etc., so how long your wait may be will vary. We do our best to work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What will I have to pay for your services?

There is a co-payment required for all repairs and weatherization services – the amount of the co-payment is calculated on a sliding scale based on both your income and the cost of the repairs. Our goal is to partner with you to get the work done, not to create more cost for you.

How soon can you help me?

Once you apply and you’ve been accepted, our field crew will do a site visit and figure out what work is necessary. We schedule jobs based on a few key standards:

  • emergencies that pose a health and safety danger are always prioritized – a good example is no heat in the middle of winter or no hot water
  • available funding – as a non-profit we use funding from different sources with different kinds of restrictions. At certain times during the year, we may have funds for work within the city of Kalamazoo but not elsewhere in the county.

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Repair Program

What kind of repairs do you do?

Our focus is on making sure that homes are safe and healthy– we don’t offer remodeling or renovation services, such as painting, plaster or drywall repair. Our services fall into four main categories: Mechanical (heating and hot water), Plumbing, Electrical, and Structural Repairs (interior and exterior). So while we repair and replace appliances such as furnaces and water heaters, we don’t work on kitchen appliances like stoves or refrigerators.

I’m disabled and I need a ramp – can you build one?

Unfortunately, we don’t. It’s outside the scope of our program.

I want to update my kitchen – do you do home improvement work?

No, we only work on issues that affect health and safety.

I need a new roof – can you help with that?

We do not offer roof replacements. We may be able to help you with some repairs and we can work with you to try to access resources from other programs. If you qualify for our services, please contact us to see how we can help.
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Weatherization Program

What is included in a weatherization?

Our goal when we weatherize a home is to produce both energy efficiency AND improved comfort and air quality. Houses lose the most heat through gaps and under-insulated attics and walls and old and inefficient furnaces have to work too hard to try to keep up. We focus on air sealing, attic and wall insulation, and installing high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters. We sometimes replace doors, but typically do not replace windows.
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Education Program

What kinds of classes do you offer?

Our workshops focus on basic home maintenance issues, both inside and outside the house. We also offer workshops on how to use  hand and power tools, how to budget and plan for repairs and home improvements, and we also take input from our students on what kinds of classes would be most useful for them. You can check out the full list of workshop topics here.

Who can take your classes? Is there a cost?

Our workshops are open to all residents in Kalamazoo County, not just homeowners. If you are income-qualified, workshops are free. For all other attendees, we encourage you to consider making a donation to help support our programming.

Can I come to a workshop if I haven’t registered?

Yes, but we encourage you to register online or by calling the office. That way we can be sure to have enough materials and we can contact you if there is a change or cancellation.

Is there childcare? Can I bring my children to the workshop?

Unfortunately, we don’t offer childcare during workshops, and for everyone’s safety, we require all attendees to be 16 or older.

How long are the workshops? How often do you have them?

Workshops typically run 2 hours and we offer them year round.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

You don’t need to bring anything with you except your interest! If you are attending a workshop about something you are dealing with at your home, please feel free to bring photos if you have a particular issue in your home you are working with.
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More About Community Homeworks

Are you a non-profit?

Yes – Community Homeworks is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Where does your funding come from?

We are fortunate to have many partners and donors who support our work. We receive grants from the City of Kalamazoo and many charitable foundations, money and materials from local corporations and businesses, and donations from individuals who want to make a difference in their community. Please consider becoming a donor and help support our work.

Who does the work?

We are committed to delivering the highest quality and most efficient service and we do most of the work ourselves. We also work with subcontractors such as electricians and plumbers for more extensive jobs. We have both a builders and a mechanical license, and our field technicians have the most up-to-date certifications and training available, including Energy Star 3.0 certification.

Can I volunteer?

We definitely have opportunities for volunteers – our greatest need is in our Education Program where we rely on professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to teach workshops on the many topics we offer. And we welcome interested community members to consider applying to join our Board of Directors. We encourage you to contact our office to learn more!

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