As we age, or if we are disabled, we may need to modify our home to make it senior-friendly or disability-friendly. By taking advantage of available grants, programs, and tax benefits, you can significantly ease the financial burden of home modifications.
Amy Young Barrier Removal Program: access grants for home modifications
Households with an income no more than 80% of the area median income can apply for a $22,500 grant, whether for a rented property or one which is owned, through the Amy Young Barrier Removal Program. Financial assistance is also available through the HOME Investment Partnership Programs Single Family home reconstruction, tenant-based rental assistance and Texas Bootstrap. This last loans up to $45,000 at 0% interest to help low-income owner-builders build, buy, purchase or improve.
Local home repair initiatives
There are local initiatives such as the Austin Home Repair Coalition and Hands on Housing, which combines volunteer cleanup and painting with new appliances and professional rehabilitation.
Home repair loans for disabled people in rural areas
Disabled people who own a home in a rural area and have a very low income for their county may borrow up to $10,000 to repair, improve or modernize their home. The loan is for 20 years at 1% interest. Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants
Maximize tax-deductible expenses for home modifications for seniors and disabled people
Even if funds must be spent out-of-pocket, they may be tax deductible. Tax deductible expenses include installing ramps and widening entry and internal doorways; widening or otherwise modifying hallways; modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment, perhaps to make them accessible to someone using a wheelchair; installing railing, support bars or otherwise modifying bathrooms; moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures; modifying stairs and installing lifts (but not elevators); modifying fire alarms and other warning systems; adding handrails and grab bars; and modifying areas in front of entrances, including grading. (see three most important home modifications seniors can make.)
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, CELA, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.