Atlanta — Jun 03, 2021
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) today announced that it has awarded more than $1 million in state funding to three nonprofit organizations, enabling older adults with the greatest economic need to make critical home modifications and repairs.
The nonprofits, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels Atlanta, and HouseProud Atlanta, will provide a range of services to eligible homeowners across the Atlanta region who are age 60 and over to enable them to stay in their homes as they grow older.
Services include installing stair lifts and ramps to improve accessibility; adding grab bars in bathtubs; making showers curbless; widening doorways; and replacing deteriorated roofs.
“This is a remarkable opportunity for older adults who don’t have the financial resources to retrofit their homes and help them live more independently and age in place,” said Becky Kurtz, managing director of ARC’s Aging & Independence Services Group.
The need is great. According to a 2018 AARP survey, three out of four adults age 50 and older want to age in their homes and communities rather than move to institutional settings such as nursing homes.
The funding, which totals $1.15 million, comes from Home & Community Based Services, a state program that assists older individuals with services at home and in the community.
The repairs and modifications will be made by contractors vetted by the three nonprofits. The funding must be spent, and repairs completed, by June 30, 2021. Funds for each home will be capped at $20,000.
Recipients who are eligible for home modification and repair assistance are screened by the nonprofits, must demonstrate economic need and own their home. All the available state funds have been allocated among the three nonprofits.
ARC’s Aging & Independence Services awards millions of dollars in grants every year aimed at assisting adults 60 and older with much-needed services such as meal deliveries, in-home care and transportation. But home repairs and modifications can be costly, and funds for these types of projects are typically scarce. This one-time funding for home modifications are repairs provides a rare opportunity for aging homeowners to do more expensive home repairs and modifications.
In the past year, ARC’s Aging & Independence Services received about $8.3 million in federal funding for COVID-19 relief, which enabled the agency to expand its existing services in the community and freed up state funds to be used for home modifications and repairs.
One of the biggest unmet home needs for older adults is roof replacement, which can cost thousands of dollars, Kurtz said. State policies prohibit using federal or state funds for roof replacement, but ARC has received a waiver that will allow this.
The income constraints of low-income older persons can often lead to deferred maintenance on homes, leading to difficult and dangerous housing conditions. Also, as adults age, mobility can be impaired, making ramps and other enhancements necessary for mobility, safety and independence.
Meals on Wheels Atlanta is best known for its home delivery of meals to older adults, but over the past decade it has been involved in doing home repairs for its clients. By bundling these new dollars with existing funds for home repairs, Meals on Wheels Atlanta will be able to provide more comprehensive repairs to its existing clients. Meals on Wheels Atlanta received a grant of $500,000 from ARC.
The nonprofit is spending up to $8,000 per client, mostly replacing roofs and retrofitting bathrooms.
“We’re very excited about expanding our partnership with ARC,” said Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, CEO of Meals on Wheels Atlanta. “This was a great experience for us. Most importantly, this work has positively impacted the lives of 46 seniors in this community.”
The funding will also support Habitat for Humanity’s existing aging-in-place strategy in the counties served by ARC and provide older adult homeowners in need of affordable accommodations with individual-specific home repairs that will allow them to age in place safely with comfort and dignity.
The mission of Habitat’s aging-in-place work is to address older adults’ needs holistically, including the completion of home modifications and connecting homeowners with social services that address age-related issues. This funding is crucial to that goal. Habitat received a grant of $467,500 from ARC.
“We’re grateful for the ARC’s support in helping us continue to foster communities where our older family members and friends can thrive,” said Adrienne Goolsby, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada at Habitat for Humanity International. “Helping homeowners preserve their independence and safety as they age is invaluable and allows aging adults the option to remain in the comfort of their own homes as they grow older.”
HouseProud Atlanta works with older adults, veterans and people with disabilities who own their homes so they can stay safe, warm, and dry at home. ARC funds will allow the nonprofit to expand its services beyond the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County, and to serve clients on their wait list. The funds will be spent on repairs and modifications such as roof replacements, electrical upgrades, new furnaces, walk-in showers, and doorway widenings. HouseProud received a $150,000 grant from ARC.
“The ARC grant supports HouseProud’s efforts to meet the needs of eligible homeowners beyond Fulton County,” said Lisa Flowers, executive director of HouseProud Atlanta. “Funding of this magnitude also affords us the opportunity to address more than one critical need for a single homeowner.”
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 73 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention, and planning resources on key regional issues.
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