RRR stories: Philadelphian uses low-interest repair loan for new kitchen

A Philadelphia nursing assistant renovates her home of 14 years using a 3% fixed interest repair loan.

Janeen Bey wanted to renovate her North Philadelphia home for years. She’d moved there in 2009, and by now, the kitchen’s stick-and-peel tile, warped countertops, and defective switches required a major upgrade. So did the tight layout: Janeen couldn’t even stand directly in front of her oven.

“I had to do everything from the side,” said Janeen, who has worked as a certified nursing assistant for 23 years.

“I still walk in like, who lives here? This is my house. I walked in today saying, ‘Hi, house!’”

Janeen Bey

But interest rates for home improvement loans — typically ranging from 6% to just over 20%, even for good-to-excellent credit scores — went beyond what Janeen could afford and prevented her from investing in her home.

One day, she was watching the news and saw a segment on Restore, Repair, Renew. She learned about the program’s 3% fixed interest rate and 10-year payback period, got in touch with Clarifi, and started the process of securing her loan. “It sounded very doable for me,” Janeen said. “I’m just a single working woman. It was good for my budget, and I knew what I wanted done.”


Janeen’s pup blends right in with the cooling grey and white color scheme of her modern kitchen.

Once Janeen closed the RRR loan and had an initial home assessment by Clarifi’s home repair advocate, her contractor got to work. The Philadelphia resident said she would not have been able to pay for the renovations without the RRR program’s low interest rate.

“That was affordable,” she said. The RRR maximum loan amount — now $50,000 under the relaunch — made it possible for Janeen to renovate her kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, hallway, and stairwell. In 45 days, what was once an outdated kitchen with mismatched appliances became a bright, open space boasting quartz granite countertops, solid wood cabinetry, laminated vinyl waterproof flooring, stainless steel appliances, and a large kitchen island.

“I’m just so excited,” Janeen said. “I’ve never had a dishwasher.”

The contractor also gutted her upstairs bathroom, laying down new porcelain tile and flooring as well as installing a new toilet and vanity. The upgrades made Janeen feel safer and happier in her home. She plans to stay for years to come.

Her favorite part?

“The kitchen, my room, everything,” Janeen said. “I still walk in like, who lives here? This is my house. I walked in today saying, ‘Hi, house!’”