Lifestyle

Help with housing for low income seniors, the disabled

A new government program is available to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities finance home modifications for accessible, safe and independent living.

Through a $15-million combined investment over the next three years, the Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) program will provide eligible homeowners and landlords with financial assistance of up to $20,000 per home, in the form of a forgivable loan. Funding for the program is shared equally by the federal and provincial governments.

“Our government is working hard to improve the lives of seniors and persons with disabilities,” James Moore, Minister Responsible for British Columbia said last week when he visited the Okanagan.

He made the housing funding announcement on behalf of Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Through the new Home Adaptations for Independence program, our government is working with the province of British Columbia to develop and implement solutions to housing,” Moore said.

“The funding will help people living with a disability retain their independence and improve their quality of life,” added Rich Coleman, B.C.’s minister responsible for housing.

“This partnership with the federal government will go a long way to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities create a home for themselves that is comfortable, safe and accessible.

Eligible renovations and retrofits include handrails in hallways or stairways, ramps for ease of access, easy-to-reach work areas in the kitchen and bathtub grab bars and seats.

All adaptations should be permanent and fixed to the home, except for equipment designed to give access to existing parts of the home such as bath lifts.

The HAFI program was made possible following the signing, in July 2011, of a new Canada-B.C. affordable housing agreement. The federal and B.C. governments are contributing equally over three years to fund provincially-designed and delivered programs that support a range of housing needs for low-income individuals, families and seniors.

This program will provide assistance for B.C. residents who wish to make adaptations and remain in their own home.

The combined investment of $180 million will support housing programs that help B.C. residents’ access safe, affordable housing.

The Canadian government, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 615,000 households living in existing social housing.

In British Columbia, this represents some 71,000 households.

These investments are intended to improve the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, people with disabilities, recent immigrants and aboriginal people.

Over the last decade, B.C. has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This investment has helped create close to 21,000 new units of affordable housing and almost doubled the number of households which qualify for assistance.

This year, the province will invest approximately half a billion dollars in a diverse range of social housing programs to help more than 95,000 people keep the cost of housing more affordable in British Columbia.

More information on the program is available at www.bchousing.org/HAFI.

 

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