Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Mini-PHIL-Plus Program?
The Mini-PHIL-Plus Home Improvement Repayment Program are two separate low-interest loan products (Mini-PHIL and PHIL-Plus) managed by CED to help Philadelphia homeowners improve, modify, or repair their homes. Currently, only the Mini-PHIL Program is accepting applications for loans from $1,000 - $15,000. Additionally, up to half of the loan can be used to pay off existing debt.
The program is a partnership between CED, Philadelphia’s Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the city-wide Housing Counseling Agencies, and Citizens Bank.
Who can apply for the program?
Check the eligibility requirements to see if you qualify.
What home repairs are eligible for this program?
The Mini-PHIL-Plus Program works to provide another option for homeowners on the Basic Systems Repair Program waitlist. Any project that can be understood as improvement, modification, or repair qualifies for this loan. The most common projects are:
- Water Heater repair or replacement;
- Electrical repairs;
- Front or back stair repair;
- Furnace replacement;
- Roof replacement;
- Weatherization and/or energy efficiency maintenance;
- Door and window replacement, restoration or maintenance;
- Porches and structural support.
How much can I borrow?
Currently, the Mini-PHIL Loans are available between $1,000 and $15,000 for Philadelphia homeowners who own and occupy their home. PHIL-Plus Loans will become available in late 2017, and will offer up to $25,000.
How much will I pay each month for the loan?
For the PHIL-Plus loan, payments are around $180 per month over 20 years if you borrow the full $25,000.
How soon must the loans be repaid?
Mini-PHIL Loans are paid back over ten years, or 120 months. There is no fee for paying back a loan early. Homeowners pay back what they borrow, as well as 6% interest.
Do I need to have an account with the bank in order to apply?
No, you do not need to have an account with the bank to apply.
Why should I see a housing counselor?
Housing counselors are here to help you be the savviest homeowner you can be. Counselors are trained to understand credit reports, assist you with creating a budget that is within your means, and so much more! The best part is their services are free. The only fee you may have is accessing your credit report which is between $10 -$30.
Is there a minimum income eligibility to qualify?
No, there is no minimum. As long as your monthly debts don’t use up most of your income – you need to have a 45% Debt-To-Income Ratio – then you are eligible to apply. You can calculate your Debt-To-Income Ratio here.
If I am denied, can I apply again?
Depending on the denial reason, the Urban Affairs Coalition will work with your housing counselor to find a bank that you can re-apply with. If nothing can be worked out immediately, you can work with your housing counselor to fix the reason for denial and apply later on.
I inherited a property. Can I apply for this loan?
You must be listed on the title and deed to apply for a Mini-PHIL or PHIL-Plus loan.
Where does funding for this program come from?
CED receives a yearly contract from Philadelphia’s Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to manage this program.
How can I apply?
Applicants should first check that they meet the basic qualifications for the loan. Then, they can download the Intake Form and make an appointment with a housing counseling agency that works for them. At their free, in-person appointment with a housing counselor, the applicant should bring their Intake Form and any supporting paperwork to help to fill out the formal application referral.
Is there a minimum credit score for this program?
The minimum FICO credit score for this program is 580, which is below the average credit score of most U.S. consumers. If you are unsure about what your credit score is, contact your local housing counseling agency.
What if my credit doesn’t meet the minimum?
There are resources available to help you improve your credit and financial standing. Talk to your local housing counseling agency about credit counseling.
Can I hire anyone to work on my home as part of this program?
Yes, we leave this responsibility to the homeowner. We have provided resources on choosing a contractor and where to find a reliable contractor certified to work in Philadelphia.
I just purchased a home in Philadelphia. Can I apply for this loan?
You are eligible, but typically the loan requires a minimum amount of 10% equity in the home. You can talk to a housing counseling agency further about this.
Why not use just a grant-only program?
This program is a means of filling the gap created by the Basic Systems Repair Program – a grant program currently with a several year waitlist with thousands of applicants. The Mini-PHIL-Plus Program will allow for homeowners the greatest impact on their homes and neighborhoods, while also being provided a safe loan alternative.
If a homeowner has received a grant in the past, are they eligible for the loan program?
Yes, if a homeowner has received a grant previously, they are still eligible for this program.
Is homeowners insurance required before applying or getting approved?
Homeowners insurance is required for the Mini-PHIL-Plus Program.
Who qualifies as the applicant and/or the co-applicant?
The applicant must be on the deed and demonstrate proof of occupancy. The co-applicant must be a permanent resident in the home. The co-applicant does not have to be on the deed and may have lived in the home for less than six months.
All persons on the deed do not have to be listed as a co-applicant unless it is determined by the owners. A spouse is also not required to be listed as a co-applicant. However, anyone listed on the deed must sign off on the mortgage during the loan closing even if they are not the applicant or the co-applicant.
I still have questions, who can I contact?
Call Urban Affairs Coalition’s Mini-PHIL-Plus Program Administrator at 215-851-1847.
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