The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday announced it had awarded $30 million to 32 separate nonprofit organizations as well as state and local governments and public housing authorities expressly for the purpose of providing assistance to low-income seniors to help them age in place in their own homes. This is according to an announcement distributed by HUD.
The awarded grants will go to these organizations to help facilitate comprehensive programs that make safety-oriented and functional home modifications as well as limited repairs to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners, making their homes easier to remain in without the need to move to an assisted living facility.
The grants are being provided through HUD’s Older Adults Home Modification Program (OAHMP) in an effort to allow low-income seniors to stay in their homes through low-cost home modifications that can reduce older adults’ risk of falling or other injury in the home.
Cited examples of such modifications include installation of grab bars in bathrooms or bedrooms, the addition of railings near stairwells, as well as lever-handled doorknobs and faucets. The modifications can also include the installation of adaptive equipment, such as non-slip strips for a bathtub/shower or stairs.
Aging in place has become a more prominent priority for seniors particularly over the past year, as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic first proliferated in the United States in congregate home settings largely catering specifically to seniors.
“Experienced nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and public housing authorities that received funding will deliver home modification services to more than 5,000 qualified beneficiaries and serve communities with substantial rural populations,” HUD said in its announcement of the grant awards.
This marks one of the first major senior-oriented actions of HUD under the administration of President Joe Biden and incumbent HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. Fudge lauded the move as one that can help to improve the general welfare of the protected class of seniors.
“Today, we are renewing our commitment to improving the lives of older adults,” said Secretary Fudge in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The funding provided today will enable low-income elderly persons to remain in their homes and will reduce their risk of falling, improve their general safety, increase accessibility, and improve their functional abilities in their home.”
This move can also greatly impact the association between health and housing for seniors according to Matthew Ammon, Director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, and the official who served as Acting HUD Secretary prior to Secretary Fudge’s confirmation.
“There is a strong connection between health and housing,” said Ammon. “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.”
Interested stakeholders can find a full list of grantees on HUD’s website.