Whether you want to update a kitchen or bathroom with new plumbing and appliances or you need to renovate a home to accommodate a family member who uses a wheelchair, a home improvement project is a great way to make a house more comfortable and increase its value. Paying for these projects, however, can be difficult.

Some lenders offer home improvement loans for major renovations, but the government also has programs to help eligible homeowners who have no other way to secure the money they need to do the work.

Here are three grants offered by the federal government for homeowners and veterans who need to make their homes safer or renovate them to accommodate a person with disabilities.

Single-Family Housing Repair program

Offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division, the Single-Family Housing Repair loans and grants help eligible homeowners who need to modernize their homes or remove health and safety hazards. To qualify for a grant, the homeowner must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 62 years old.
  • Own the home and live in it.
  • Be unable to get financial assistance from another source.
  • Have a family income less than 50 percent of the median income in the area.
  • Be unable to pay back a loan.

Eligible homeowners may receive up to $7,500 in a lifetime. If they sell the home within three years of receiving the funds, they must pay back the grant amount.

Special Housing Adaptation grant

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant for veterans who need to adapt a home to accommodate a service-related disability. Grant recipients can use the funds to adapt a home where the veteran currently lives or one the veteran plans to purchase. To qualify, veterans must have one of the following service-related disabilities:

  • Blindness in both eyes.
  • Loss of both hands.
  • Loss of use of both hands.
  • Certain severe burn injuries.
  • Certain severe respiratory injuries.

The VA allows a maximum of three grants during a veteran’s lifetime. Veterans may use the grant money for homes that they their families own. To apply for an SHA grant, veterans complete an application on the VA website or request a paper copy from VA.

Specially Adapted Housing grant

The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant is available to veterans who need to remodel a home so they can live in a barrier-free environment. To qualify, the veteran must have one of the following service-related disabilities:

  • Loss of both legs.
  • Loss of both arms.
  • Loss of the use of both legs.
  • Loss of the use of both arms.
  • Blindness in both eyes in addition to the loss of one leg.
  • Loss of one leg and one arm at the same time.
  • Certain severe burns.
  • Loss of at least one lower extremity that restricts mobility as the result of service on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

Eligible veterans may receive no more than three grants during their lifetime. They also must own the home and have the title in their own names. Veterans who want to apply for this grant must complete an application on the VA website or request one directly from the VA.

A home equity loan can be a great way to pay for improvements. Compare home equity rates today at Bankrate.com.