U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge today announced that the Department is making available $15 million to help older Americans age in place through home modifications. The funding opportunity, made available through HUD’s Older Adult Home Modification Program (OAHMP), will assist experienced nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and public housing authorities in undertaking comprehensive programs that make safety and functional home modifications repairs and renovations to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners.
Secretary Fudge announced the funding opportunity while visiting a home modification project made possible by the OAHMP in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was joined by U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity President and CEO Chris Coleman, and Betty and John Smith, the beneficiaries of the home modification project. While in Minnesota, Secretary Fudge is also visiting two properties to discuss housing supply and the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to expand access to affordable housing.
“By 2040, it is estimated that 20 percent of the population will be over 65 years old,” said Secretary Fudge. “We must allow our nation’s seniors to age-in-place with dignity. This funding will give seniors the flexibility to make changes to their existing homes -changes that will keep them safe and allow them to gracefully adjust to their changing lifestyle. This program is crucial to our work to increase and maintain our nation’s housing supply, and it aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to treat every person in this country with dignity and respect.”
“Everyone deserves to live happy, fulfilled lives in their own homes, including older adults and people living with disabilities. For far too long, we have underinvested in the simple help and support that people need so they can stay in their own homes. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce $15 million in funding under the Older Adult Home Modification Program,” said Senator Smith. “This funding will help thousands of seniors and people living with disabilities nationwide to safely stay in their homes connected to the neighborhoods they know and love for longer.”
The goal of the home modification program is to enable low-income elderly persons to remain in their homes through low-cost, low barrier, high impact home modifications to reduce older adults’ risk of falling, improve general safety, increase accessibility, and to improve their functional abilities in their home. This will enable older adults to remain in their homes, that is, to “age in place,” rather than move to nursing homes or other assisted care facilities.
The funding opportunity establishes a program model that incorporates two core concepts: first, as people age, their needs change, and they may need adaptations to their physical environment to live safely at home; second, for any intervention to have the highest impact, the individual’s personal goals and needs must be a driver in determining the actual intervention.
Examples of these home modifications include installation of grab bars, railings, and lever-handled doorknobs and faucets, as well as the installation of adaptive equipment, such as temporary ramp, tub/shower transfer bench, handheld shower head, raised toilet seat, risers for chairs and sofas, and non-slip strips for tub/shower or stairs.
Under the Biden Harris Administration and the leadership of Secretary Fudge, HUD has prioritized increasing and maintaining the nation’s housing supply.
In May, President Biden released a comprehensive Housing Supply Action Plan outlining administrative and legislative actions that will lower housing prices, close the housing supply shortfall in five years, and create hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units in the next three years.
Building on the Administration’s housing supply actions, on June 1, 2022, Secretary Fudge launched HUD’s “Our Way Home” initiative to increase affordable housing supply in local communities with a National Day of Action on housing supply.
Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by the President earlier this month, will allow owners of HUD-assisted multifamily properties to preserve tens of thousands of affordable rental homes by making them more efficient, healthier, and resilient.