MaineHousing Home Repair Program and Elderly Hardship Grant

Program Description

The Maine State Housing Authority offers the MaineHousing's Home Repair Program and a sub-program relevant to seniors called the Elderly Hardship Grant.  The objective of these programs is to help low income homeowners maintain their homes in good repair and minimize safety risks associated with their homes.  The program is relevant to seniors wishing to age in place and to families caring for loved ones at home in that the grants and loans can be used to make home modifications not just for structural improvements but also to improve disability access.

 This program includes assistance for bathroom safety modifications to help aging in place.

Home modifications include projects such as the addition of a wheelchair ramp to the home's exterior or widening of doorways and access points to allow wheelchair access in the home's interior and bathroom modifications such as the addition of a walk in tub (with transfer bench), hand rails, modified toilet etc. Stair-lifts, platform lifts and home elevators are possibilities for two-story homes or second story apartments in which staircases cannot be avoided. 

 

Eligibility Guidelines

To be eligible for this program, there are several different requirements. First and foremost, the applicant must be a legal Maine resident and homeowner and they must live in the home to which the improvements will be made.

Applicants must be at least 62 years of age. Financial eligibility is based on the candidate's household income (not their financial assets). These requirements can change annually and are based on the area of Maine in which they reside. Typically, individuals qualify should their income be less than 80% of the median income for their area. In most areas of Maine, single applicants with incomes of less than $25,000 / year or $2,000 / month will qualify. In the urban areas, that limit is higher, approaching $30,000 or even $40,000 ($2,500 - $3,500 per month) in and around Portland, Bangor and the more expensive areas of southern Maine.

Detailed town by town income limits are available here.  These were last updated in April 2016 and it is expected they will be updated again as of April, 2017. 

This program does not consider the functional ability or disabilities of the applicants as a qualifying factor however prioritization may be given to individuals who are expected to remain living in their homes for an extended period of time (as opposed to those who may be moving into an assisted living or nursing home community).

 

Benefits and Services

The amount of assistance can vary based on need, location within the state and with available funding.   Most areas set a maximum limit on the grant size at $5,000.  Should a loan be offered instead of a grant, the interest rates are very low, typically around 1% annually.  The funds can be applied towards a wide range of home safety improvements such as plumbing, heating or electrical repairs but most relevant are modifications to help elderly and disabled individuals improve access to, and in and around their homes.

Did You Know? Maine seniors can receive free quotes for home safety and access modifications such as walk-in tubs and stair-lifts

How to Apply / Learn More

To apply for the Home Repair Program or the Elderly Hardship Grant, one should contact their regional, county-specific, Community Action Program agency.  A list of which can be found here.