Quantcast

New grant program makes it easier for Maryland seniors to age in place

Accessible Homes for Seniors provides money for home improvements

11/4/2014, 6 a.m.
Maryland senior citizens that own their homes may have more options to age in place under a new program that ...
Sheila Locke, underwriter for DHCD's “Accessible Homes for Seniors” program helps to spread the word at the Baby Boomer Expo at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium recently. (Courtesy Photo)

— Maryland senior citizens that own their homes may have more options to age in place under a new program that provides grants of up to $25,000 for improvements such as grab bars and railings, the installation of ramps or the widening of doorways.

The “Accessible Homes for Seniors” program, which previously provided loans to help seniors make their homes more accessible, has been expanded to allow grants for that purpose as well, according to DHCD.

The state legislature approved the grant program last year in response to growing national concern over the graying of the Baby Boom generation, whose need for high quality, independent and financially secure lives is linked more and more to their housing needs.

In Maryland and nationwide, close to one in five citizens will be 65 years or older by 2030 and affordable, accessible and well-located housing will be central to their quality of life.

Looking at the housing needs of senior citizens from a national perspective, Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies estimates that 80 percent of older adult households are homeowners although that percentage may change after the rate of homeownership plummeted following the collapse of the housing market. The center recommends policies that help senior citizens retrofit their homes to accommodate disabilities and policies that promote loan modifications to help protect against foreclosures.

In 2012, the legislature established a task force "to study methods for identifying and understanding the renovation and repair needs of low-income and limited income senior homeowners and identifying resources to assist senior homeowners." The Accessible Homes for Senior Homeowners Grant program grew out of the task force recommendations.

To learn more about the Accessible Homes for Senior Homeowners Grant program, visit: www.dhcd.state.md.us.