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Brochure   Application

The Homeowners’ Emergency Loan Program (HELP) is available to income-eligible owner-occupants anywhere in the City of Milwaukee. HELP is available for emergencies that, if not corrected, would make the home uninhabitable. 

HELP is not intended for maintenance, code violations, or other work that is not a true emergency.

HELP is administered by the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC).  NIDC is affiliated with the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development.

Eligible and Ineligible Work
HELP is a loan program for emergency repairs. Loan funds must be used to correct conditions that are making the home uninhabitable. HELP is not a code-compliance program, but the proposed repairs must make the property substantially decent and safe.

Eligible Work:

  • Repair or replace roofing / flashing if there is an active leak affecting habitable rooms
  • Repair or replace a non-functioning furnace / boiler (“no heat”)
  • Replace a non-functioning water heater
  • Repair leaking water piping if there are active leaks into habitable rooms, or if sewer gas is entering the home
  • Repair collapsed sewer laterals between house and street tap
  • Repair leaking water laterals between house and stop box
  • Repair serious electrical hazards
  • Repair hazardous structural conditions
  • Correct a condition that is a serious threat to health and safety

Ineligible Work:

  • Most porch or garage repairs, including roofing
  • Leaking basements / water seepage
  • Gutters & downspouts
  • Soffit, fascia
  • Siding
  • Storm doors, storm windows
  • Door or window replacement
  • Weatherization work
  • Defective interior or exterior paint
  • Electrical improvements & service upgrades
  • Code violations (unless listed under eligible work)
  • Maintenance
  • Remodeling or home improvements
  • Any work that is not an immediate & significant threat to health and safety

Finding a Good Contractor
You may use any contractor as long as the company is licensed and qualified to do the work. NIDC encourages that you use City of Milwaukee-based contractors and/or contractors who are certified Small Business Enterprises (SBE’s) by the City's Office of Small Business Development.  A list of licensed Home Improvement contractors may be found at

You may also talk to friends and relatives about a good contractor, or look in the newspaper or telephone directory to find a firm.

Regardless of how you find a company, it is always a good idea to get more than one quote, and to get references from the contractors.

Applications may be downloaded here. Completed applications should be mailed or delivered to the NIDC offices. You may also pick up an application at NIDC. The office is located at 809 North Broadway on the 3rd floor.

To expedite your loan, it is recommended that you include a bid or quote from a licensed contractor with a completed and signed application.

Your loan must be approved and settled before any work starts.

In Order to Qualify
You must own and occupy the home, and the work must be an eligible item listed above. HELP is designed to assist owner-occupied 1-4 unit residential buildings, although mixed-use buildings may be eligible. You must be current with your mortgage and with City of Milwaukee property tax payments.

There is no minimum credit score, but generally you must be credit-worthy, have a history of making payments on time, and be able to afford a monthly payment of at least $50.

Closing fees for HELP loans are currently $178.

Your home's mortgage debt compared to its value will be considered as part of our loan underwriting.

Loan Terms
HELP is a loan program

  • The minimum loan is $1000; the maximum is $7,500 (Over $7,500 on an exception basis for projects involving roof replacement)
  • Maximum loan term: 5 years (10 for projects involving roof replacement)
  • Interest rates vary by income.  See charts below.   Household income not exceeding 50% of Area Median Income:  3%.  Household income not exceeding 100% Area Median Income:  6%.
100% of Area Median Income as of 02/05/2014
Number in Household Income
Number in Household Income
1 $49,300 5 $76,000
2 $56,300 6 $81,600
3 $63,300 7 $87,200
4 $70,300 8 $92,800


50% of Area Median Income as of 02/05/2014
Number in Household Income
Number in Household Income
1 $24,650 5 $38,000
2 $28,150 6 $40,800
3 $31,650 7 $43,600
4 $35,150 8 $46,400


Last page update 03/31/2014