The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced the disbursement of nearly $15 million in new grants to help with health and safety home repairs for low-income seniors with the express purpose of enabling them to age in place. The funds will be distributed to 13 non-profit organizations and one state government.
Health and home
“Provided through HUD’s Older Adults Home Modification Program (OAHMP), these grants enable low-income elderly persons to remain in their homes through low-cost, low barrier, high impact home modifications to reduce older adults’ risk of falling, improve general safety, increase accessibility, and improve their functional abilities in their home,” HUD said in its announcement.
These repairs will help keep older Americans out of nursing homes or assisted care facilities, should they so choose, the department said.
In terms of the impact of these grants, they will provide “home modification services to more than 1,900 senior families in both urban communities and communities with substantial rural populations,” HUD said.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said allowing more seniors to choose where to live in their later years will help improve the quality of life for qualifying beneficiaries.
“By providing a pathway for more older adults to stay in their homes, we are helping to improve lives and ensuring the opportunity for seniors to age with dignity,” Fudge said.
Matthew Ammon, director of HUD’s office of lead hazard control and healthy homes, said these kinds of repairs also have added benefits.
“There is a strong connection between health and housing,” Ammon said. “These grants provide a critical resource to communities to make low-cost, low barrier, high impact home modifications tailored to the needs of the residents.”
Of the areas receiving funding, seven are described as “substantially rural” while an additional seven are described as “urbanized.” The states slated to receive funding include California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.
In conjunction with today’s announcement, HUD outlined a complete project-by-project summary of the program.
HUD’s aging in place priorities
Wednesday’s announcement is the latest HUD effort to bolster aging-in-place prospects for older Americans. Last summer, Secretary Fudge and other HUD officials announced a $15 million round of grants to address senior livability issues and allow more seniors to remain where they are.
“By 2040, it is estimated that 20 percent of the population will be over 65 years old,” said Secretary Fudge. “We must allow our nation’s seniors to age in place with dignity. This funding will give seniors the flexibility to make changes to their existing homes — changes that will keep them safe and allow them to gracefully adjust to their changing lifestyles. This program is crucial to our work to increase and maintain our nation’s housing supply, and it aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to treat every person in this country with dignity and respect.”
The prior round of funding was expected to impact approximately 5,000 seniors. A prior $30 million program was announced in August 2021, and was distributed to 32 nonprofit organizations as well as state and local governments and public housing authorities for the specific purpose of renovating more homes for aging in place.
Modifications detailed under the 2021 program included the installation of grab bars in bathrooms or bedrooms, the addition of railings near stairwells and lever-handled doorknobs and faucets. The installation of adaptive equipment, such as non-slip strips for a bathtub/shower or stairs, was also cited.