Home Modification and Repair
Some home modification and repair programs make loans or provide services free of charge or at reduced rates for eligible older people. For more information, contact:
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 area.
Local Community Development Department: Many cities and towns use Community Development Block Grants to help citizens maintain and upgrade their homes.
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.
WHERE TO GET HELP
There are several ways to modify and repair your home. You can: 1) do it yourself, or get a friend or relative to help; 2) hire a handyman or contractor; 3) contact a home modification and repair program. Programs can be located through your:
- Local Area Agency On Aging
- State Agency On Aging
- State Housing Finance Agency
- Department of Public Welfare
- Department of Community Development
- Senior Center Independent Living Center