Illinois Home Accessibility Program (HAP): Helping Seniors Make Home Modifications

Program Description

The Illinois Home Accessibility Program (HAP) is a statewide program that 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 placement, 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 who provide grants to eligible individuals in their area.


Eligibility Guidelines

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.

Age / Disability: 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.

Income: One’s income is based on household size and cannot exceed 50% of the area median income in which one resides. This figure varies based on one’s geographic region in the state and depending on how many people reside in the home. For instance, as of 2017, in the urban area of Chicago and the surrounding areas, which includes the following counties, Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry, and Will, 50% of the area’s median income for a single individual is $27,650. For a two-person household, this amount increases to $31,600. In other more rural areas of the state, the figure for 50% of the area’s median income is lower. For example, in Jackson County (Southern Illinois), which includes Carbondale-Marion, 50% of the area’s median income for a single individual is $21,150, and is $24,200 for a two-person household.

Make note, priority is given to households who are at or below 30% of their area’s median income. For the Chicago area, this figure is $16,590 for a single individual and $18,960 for a couple. In Jackson county, this figure is $12,690 for a single individual and $14,520 for a couple.

Income limits are by county and are updated annually. A downloadable spreadsheet with details is available here.

Need: The need for home reparations / modifications for accessibility must be documented via a letter from one’s doctor or a service provider agency.

Estimates: Three written estimates for reparations / modifications must be provided.

Homes: Eligible homes may be single family homes, condos, and mobile homes, given they are on a permanent foundation and the mobile home owner owns the land on which it is situated.

Insurance: One must have homeowners’ insurance (hazard) and IHDA must be listed as an additional insured. If one is renting the property, the owner of the property must add IDHA to their insurance as an additional insured.


Benefits and Services

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 wheelchair access, replacing flooring to allow 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 2017, for those in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, and Will County, the maximum grant amount is $25,000. For those residing in counties outside of these areas, the maximum grant amount it $15,000.


How to Apply / Learn More

To learn more about HAP, click here.

One does not apply directly through IDHA. Rather, one must apply via the funded IHDA organizations in their area. To see a list of organizations, the areas in which they serve, and contact information, click here.

One will need to include three written estimates of reparations / modifications and a written need for the home modification. Make note, wait lists may exist, and some IHDA organizations may have their wait list closed due to lack of funds.