Habitat for Humanity–What Are they Doing for the Elderly?

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Habitat for Humanity is an organization dedicated to providing adequate shelter for those who are unable to afford it. In the case of the elderly, Habitat for Humanity performs some vital services that allow elderly people to remain in their own homes longer than they otherwise may be able to.

Some services provided by Habitat for Humanity

 Habitat for Humanity has some programs targeted towards low-income elderly people. These programs aim to preserve the independence of the elderly by engaging in such simple matters as installing shower grab bars, making simple repairs, or even minor maintenance items like changing light bulbs and furnace filters.

The idea behind these programs is that many of the elderly already own their own homes; however, due to progressing age and the infirmities that often come with it, they may not be able to perform the simple day-to-day maintenance that a house demands. Instead of allowing this to force them into an assisted living facility they can contact Habitat for Humanity to get some assistance.

Some things that Habitat for Humanity can do are safety-related, such as installing shower grab bars, building wheelchair ramps, and replacing a traditional bathtub with a sit-down shower. Other things are unrelated to safety, but crucial nonetheless in order to keep a house running. These include fixing leaking roofs, routine maintenance, plumbing repairs, and even some types of remodeling in order to make the house more user-friendly for the elderly.

Other modifications available include those necessary for efficiency, such as waterproofing, insulation installment, and replacing drafty windows. Work which is purely cosmetic in nature is typically not offered by Habitat for Humanity.

Requirements

These services are not available in every situation. Typically, they are limited by the age of the occupant(s) of the building, the income of the occupant(s), the value of the home, and other financial measures. Habitat for Humanity emphasizes assisting low-income people, so elderly persons who are relatively well-off may not qualify.

Likewise, a resident who is not yet elderly probably would not qualify for one of these programs. Habitat for Humanity does have other programs that assist people regardless of age, but the programs targeted specifically to the elderly are frequently limited by the age of the would-be recipient.

Cost

There are a number of ways cost is determined. Frequently Habitat for Humanity will offer the services at no cost to the elderly occupant, provided that he or she does not turn around and sell the property within a set period of time. If the home is sold before the expiration of the mandated time frame, Habitat for Humanity may collect all or a portion of the expenses associated with the maintenance and/or improvements.

Qualifying

If you or an elderly loved one are interested in determining whether Habitat for Humanity has any programs available in your area, you should contact your local Habitat for Humanity representative. Keep in mind that the programs available vary from area to area because frequently Habitat for Humanity will partner with other local charitable or governmental organizations in bringing these types of programs to the public.

Conclusion

If you are an elderly person concerned about being able to age at home—or if you have a loved one who is an elderly person with the same concern—you should be aware that Habitat for Humanity has several types of programs designed to assist the elderly in remaining in their homes. These programs range from simple maintenance such as changing light bulbs or furnace filters, to remodels in order to facilitate access and improve safety, to major projects such as repairing or replacing a leaking roof.

These programs are offered to low-income elderly persons, and there is usually a limit on the value of the homes for which they are offered. If you have any questions as to your eligibility, you should contact your local Habitat for Humanity representative.

 

 

Sources

Memphishabitat.com (website). Aging in Place. Available at http://memphishabitat.com/aging-in-place. Last visited October 21, 2015.

Somerville, Bob. Home Repair Help Keeps Aging Homeowners Safe. August 29, 2014. Available at http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/housing/info-2014/home-repair-keeps-seniors-safe.html. Last visited October 21, 2015.

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