New program promotes safe living

Cold cash, up to $20,000 available for home modifications

A new 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 from the provincial and federal governments 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.

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 funding will help people living with a disability retain their independence and improve their quality of life,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines and 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.”

Low-income seniors and persons with disabilities living in their own home or in market rental accommodation are eligible for assistance. Tenants in market rental accommodation will be able to apply with the assistance of their landlord.

The loan will not need to be paid back if the applicant adheres to program requirements that include continuing to occupy the home or limiting rent increases for tenants. For homeowners, where underlying deficiencies within the home require remediation before adaptations can be successfully completed, further funding assistance up to a maximum of $20,000 per dwelling may be considered. The homeowner will be required to obtain quotes and applicable permits, and an inspection by B.C. Housing may be required.

• For more information, or to register, call 604-786 7404, or e-mail htreleaven@shaw.ca.

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