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If you’re like one of the many Americans who are past retirement and are struggling to keep up with inflation’s impact on the housing market, you’re not alone. The most recent LIRA report predicted that there will be a 5.9 percent decrease in spending on home renovations by the end of Q2 2024, which can be largely attributed to inflation and interest hikes.
Navigating home renovations — especially with inflated costs — as you age in place can be an overwhelming and difficult process. Thankfully, there are multiple resources available to assist older individuals looking to make their homes more comfortable or conducive to their needs.
Are there home home improvement grants for senior citizens?
There are a plethora of grants, scholarships and discounts available to older adults looking to remodel, improve or renovate their homes. Offered by local, state and federal governments, nonprofit organizations, charities and churches, some grants are based solely on age, while others may be based on location, need or income.
The type of project you’re considering may also impact the types of grants you’re qualified to receive. For example, some may require modification-specific renovations, like installing a wheelchair ramp or putting grab bars and benches in the showers.
Different types of home improvement grants available
While the eligibility, amount and details of each award will vary based on the program, there are tiers of grants available federally and on a state and local level. To maximize your potential savings, make sure you’re aware of every opportunity and meet the necessary deadlines and requirements before applying.
Federal government grants
Government grants are different from organizationally based grants in that the application is more streamlined and applicants may have a better chance of getting approved.
Weatherization Assistance Program
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) serves low-income individuals and families who live below the poverty line. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy and was recently expanded to include individuals over the age of 60.
WAP improves energy efficiency in the home, which helps lower energy costs and can make your home a more comfortable place to live when the elements hit. Since it began in 1976, the program has helped more than 7 million people and has saved the average household $372 or more annually through energy-efficient upgrades.
Eldercare is a public service program offered by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA). It connects older adults and their families to support services and resources related to housing, elder rights, insurance and benefits, health and transportation.
In operation since 1991, Eldercare helps link those in need of assistance to state and local aging agencies. It also partners community-based organizations to those who qualify and their caregivers.
Offered in multiple states, those interested can use the Eldercare Locator to find agencies near them.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans
The USDA Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants program assists homeowners aged 62 and older. The program exists to help promote “safe, decent housing for older adults in rural areas.”
The grants can be used to remove safety hazards and health concerns within the home and are geared toward “very-low-income homeowners.” The grants can be applied to accessibility-related modifications like a walk-in bathtub, installing grab bars in showers and changes that make a home more accessible for those with disabilities.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Much like the Weatherization program, LIHEAP provides energy and utility assistance for older adults. The federal grant helps eligible, lower-income households meet cooling and heating needs.
Keep in mind that LIHEAP is designed differently from state to state, but you can check with your local LIHEAP office to see what’s offered in your area.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers assistance programs and community development grants for homeowners in each state. Each grant, including award amount, details and requirements, will vary per state.
The HUD also offers “funding opportunities for competitive applicants and existing recipients.” To apply for any of HUD’s grants programs, you’ll need to have a federal DUNS (Data Universal Number System).
For more information, contact your state’s Division of Aging and Adult Services or the state’s Home Improvement Program. Some states, like South Carolina, have a Community Development Division that will be able to assist in finding and apply for grants.
Nonprofit organizations, corporate companies and religious institutions may offer housing assistance to older Americans. However, local grants may be more difficult to qualify for, given the amount of applicants as compared to the funds available.
To maximize your chances of earning more funding, contact your local government; there may be a community-based grant or award available to residents of a specific town, village or county.
Organizations that offer renovation support to older Americans
There are multiple national charities and organizations that specialize in supporting unique populations when it comes to home improvement projects and renovations.
Among others, here are a few companies to check out before taking out a loan or incurring debt to make any home modifications.
- USDA Housing.
- Habitat for Humanity.
- Rebuilding Together.
- The Coalition for Home Repair.
- Home Depot Foundation.
Whether you want to make safety accommodations to your home or want to make small changes to improve the comfortability of your home, make sure you research every opportunity and grant available to older adults.
A little goes a long way, both with funds and minor improvements. Just like grant money adds up overtime, so do renovations and a little goes a long way to making your home a more peaceful, comfortable or safe place to live.