Legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has helped many individuals with disabilities progress into fully independent homeownership. The process of purchasing a home is only step one - the true work begins in the customization of that home to the person living in it.
Obviously, home modification can be expensive. Fortunately, there are many national programs with a mission to reduce the out of pocket costs that homeowners pay. These programs are funded by federal and state entities.
Federal Resources for Home Modification Grants
Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps Grant
Although not specifically geared towards people with disabilities, this AmeriCorps grant tends to lean towards helping households with disabled people. Many of the modifications made through these grants are created to ensure the safety of people with limited mobility.
Grants from the American Red Cross
Disabled individuals who served or currently serve in the military may be able to take advantage of many Red Cross grants that are geared towards home updates. Families of the service members may also be able to use these benefits.
The Army Wounded Warrior Program
Soldiers who qualify for this grant will be able to use funds to improve their homes for themselves and their families. Most of the money here goes to armed service members in the United States Army, and their stated goal is to help servicemen maintain their independence.
The Think Alive Achievement Grant
Young people 21 and under have their own special distinction in the form of The Think Alive Achievement Grant. The grant is set up to defer costs for home modifications that are meant to help children learn a skill or achieve a goal. For instance, if a child wants to learn how to cook, funds from this grant may be used to modify the kitchen space and allow for a safer cooking area.
Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment (RISE)
RISE, an initiative from the Gary Sinise Foundation (of Forrest Gump fame) is another organization that aims to help military veterans who were injured while on duty. One of the more interesting aspects of this grant is that it can be used to construct Smart Homes, or homes with exciting new technologies for safety and connectivity.
The Assisted Living Conversion for Eligible Multifamily Housing Projects (ACLP)
The US Office of Housing under the auspices of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created the ACLP. This grant is specifically for seniors who are in need of living modifications to continue living safely and comfortably. One special note - funds from the SCLP may be used to hire a personal assistant, who can help a disabled homeowner with personal care, cleaning and cooking, among other important services.
Lions Club International
For homeowners with a visual disability or hearing problem, Lions Club International is here to help. Many of the locally based clubs will personally sponsor other programs that give direct assistance to disabled homeowners.
The Self Sufficiency Grant
ModestNeeds.org gives households without the ability to qualify for low income housing the chance to receive assistance with home modifications. The overall goal of the grant is to ensure that households who are just above the poverty line do not have to spend the last of their resources on important home modifications that may still be outside of their reach.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) houses two grant programs for homeowners with disabilities - the Special Housing Adaptation Grant (SHA) and the Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH). Both grants may be used for the initial purchase of a readymade home, or they can pay for a customized home to be constructed. Additionally, the grants may also be used to modify a home that is currently owned.
The purpose of the SHA and the SAH grant overlap in many areas - the main difference between the two is the qualifications for each. SAH eligibility includes servicemen who have lost both legs or arms, suffered blindness or severe burns. SHA grants include grants for servicemen who have suffered certain respiratory injuries as well.
State Resources for Pennsylvania Home Modification Grants
The Keystone Renovate & Repair Loan Program
Disabled homeowners in Pennsylvania who make less than 150% of the statewide median income may qualify for The Keystone Renovate & Repair Loan Program under the jurisdiction of the PA Housing Finance Agency. The financial qualifications are adjusted up for high cost areas in the state. Homeowners can use the funds to rehab or improve their homes in many ways, including increased accessibility, fixing code violations and even hooking homes into sewer and water municipal systems.
The Pennsylvania Accessible Housing Program
The Pennsylvania Accessible Housing Program (PAHP) is a state program geared specifically for the improvement of homes with disabled residents or owners. Funds may be used for projects to make the living area more comfortable and safer. These projects may include bathroom wall bars, bigger overall bathrooms or lower kitchen countertops.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has different contact methods for different state groupings. If you are looking for grants in Pennsylvania, call the Philadelphia regional benefits office.
Your Next Step
At Sage Mobility, we have built our reputation on building home modifications for people with disabilities. We are more than contractors. We are specialists in home modification. We have been recognized through the Certified Aging in Place Specialist designation from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).
Contact us today by calling (610) 518-2221 or using our online contact form. to discuss the home modifications that will make your living space more comfortable. We are happy to consult with you about the most effective way to modify your home.