Modifying a loved one’s home can be expensive, but there are several different options available to help defray the cost.
Finding Financial Assistance
Some home modification and repair programs make loans or provide services free of charge or at reduced rates for eligible older people. If your loved one’s home requires safety or accessibility modifications, consider the following options.
HUD Property Improvement Loans
These are federally guaranteed/insured loans that provide funds to build or improve homes and other structures. The maximum loan amount is $25,000 for improving a single-family home or for improving or building a nonresidential structure. For improving a multifamily structure, the maximum loan amount is $12,000 per family unit, not to exceed a total of $60,000 for the structure.
HUD Rehabilitation Loans
These are federally guaranteed/insured loans to help families repair or improve, purchase and improve, or refinance and improve existing residential structures. These loans may be used to rehabilitate an existing 1 to 4 unit dwelling in one of four ways: (1) Purchase a structure and the land on which the structure is located and rehabilitate it; (2) purchase a structure on another site, move it onto a new foundation on the mortgaged property and rehabilitate it; (3) refinance existing debt and rehabilitate a structure; or (4) rehabilitate a structure. Rehabilitation costs must be at least $5,000.
Contact your local housing and community development office to find out about these and other HUD home improvement programs that might be available.
Farmers Home Administration
The FHA provides various grants and loans to rural, low-income elders.
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 homes of lower income persons.
Physician Or Health Care Provider
If your loved one requires special home medical equipment, funds from Medicare and Medicaid may be available.
Local Area Agency On Aging
Funds from the Older Americans Act often can be used to modify and repair homes.
Local Lenders And Banks
Some lenders offer Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), a type of reverse mortgage that allows homeowners to turn the value of their home into cash, without having to move or make regular loan payments.
The Fair Housing Act of 1988 makes it illegal for landlords to refuse to allow tenants to make reasonable modifications to a house or apartment if the tenant is willing to pay for the changes. The law also requires new dwellings with four or more units to include features such as wheelchair accessibility, reinforced walls to accommodate grab bars in bathrooms, and accessible electrical outlets and thermostats.
© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted from Elder Action: Action Ideas for Older Persons and Their Families. Home Modification and Repair prepared by the Administration on Aging from materials developed by the National Eldercare Institute on Housing and Supportive Services, Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California.
Modification Funds developed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.