Home Modification and Repair
Why Is Home Modification and Repair Important? | Financial Assistance | Good
News for Renters | Where to Get Help | Using a Contractor | Additional
Home Modification and Repair includes adaptations to homes that can
make it easier and safer to carry out activities such as bathing, cooking, and
climbing stairs and alterations to the physical structure of the home to
improve its overall safety and condition.
WHY IS HOME MODIFICATION AND REPAIR IMPORTANT?
- Home modification and repair can help prevent accidents such as falls.
Research suggests that one-third to one-half of home accidents can be prevented
by modification and repair.
- Home modification and repair can allow people to remain in their homes.
Older people tend to live in older homes that often need repairs and
modifications. Over 60% of older persons live in homes more than 20 years old.
Home modification and repair can accommodate lifestyle changes and increase
How Can Home Modification and Repairs Promote Independence and Prevent Accidents?
Difficulty getting in and out of the shower
Install grab bars, shower seals or transfer benches
Slipping in the tub or shower
Place non-skid strips or decals in the tub or shower
Difficulty turning faucet handles/doorknobs
Replace with lever handles
Access to home
Inadequate heating or ventilation
Install insulation, storm windows and air conditioning
Problems climbing staffs
Install handrails for support
Some home modification and repair programs make loans or provide services
free of charge or at reduced rates for eligible older people. For more
USDA, Rural Development (formerly Farmers Home Administration):
Offers 1% interest repair loans to very low and elderly home-owners and repair
grants to the elderly that qualify. Call USDA the USDA Office of Communications
at (202) 720-2791 to request the field office that covers the applicant's
Local Community Development Department: Many cities and towns use
Community Development Block Grants to help citizens maintain and upgrade their
Local Welfare or Energy Department: Two programs from the Low- income
Home Energy Assistance. Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance
Program (WAP) of the U.S. Department of Energy, provide funds to weatherize the
homes of lower income persons.
Physician or Health Care Provider: Funds from Medicare and Medicaid
are available for durable medical equipment with a doctor's prescription.
Local Area Agency on Aging: Funds from the Older Americans Act Title
III often can be used to modify and repair homes.
Local Lenders and Banks: Some lenders offer Home Equity Conversion
Mortgages (HECM's) that allow homeowners to turn the value of theft home into
cash, without having to move or make regular loan payments.
GOOD NEWS FOR RENTERS
The Fair Housing Act of 1988 Section 6(a) makes it illegal for landlords to
refuse to let tenants make reasonable modifications to their house or apartment
if the tenant is willing to pay for the changes. The law also requires new
construction of dwellings with four or more units to include features such as
wheelchair accessibility, reinforced walls to accommodate later installation of
grab bars in bathrooms, and accessible electrical outlets and thermostats.