The Illinois Home Accessibility Program (HAP) is a statewide program. It provides grants to low-income seniors and disabled residents of Illinois in order to make homes (both owned and rented) safer and more accessible. This, in turn, helps prevent unnecessary and premature nursing home placements, while allowing individuals to age at home.
Home modifications and repairs come in many different forms and may include the addition of walk-in showers, installation of wheelchair ramps, fixing leaky roofs, remodeling hallways and flooring for wheelchair access, and more.
The Home Accessibility Program is funded by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) via an Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund. However, IHDA does not provide funds directly to grantees. Rather, funding is given to a group of non-profit organizations and government agencies, and it’s these groups that provide grants to eligible individuals in their area.
In order to qualify for the Home Accessibility Program, there are requirements for individual(s) in the household, as well as for the home itself.
One individual in the household must either be elderly or disabled. For elderly individuals, they must be at least 60 years of age and be physically limited in their movements. For disabled (mentally and / or physically) individuals, there is no age limitation.
In addition, the following requirements must be met:
One’s income is based on household size and cannot exceed 80% of the area median income in which one resides. This figure varies based on one’s geographic region in the state and depends on how many people reside in the home.
For an example, in 2022 for the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet area, 80% of the area median income equals $58,350 for a single individual and $66,700 for a two-person household. In Southern Illinois, around Carbondale-Marion, a single applicant is limited to just $42,500 in annual income and a two-person household limited to $48,600.
Priority is given to households who are at or below 50% of their area’s median income. Income limits are by county and are updated annually in either March, April or May.
Grants are provided to assist both homeowners and renters to improve the home in which they reside. These grants can be used for a number of home safety and accessibility projects, including adding walk-in showers and grab bars, modifying the height of bathroom sinks to allow for wheelchair access, replacing flooring to allow for wheelchair access if the current flooring is a hazard, correcting minor foundation issues, and more.
The grant amount available is based on the area in which one resides. As of 2023, the maximum grant amount is $25,000.
Make note, wait lists may exist, and some IHDA organizations may have their wait list closed due to lack of funds.