Page Reviewed / Updated - Mar. 2018
The Senior Access Program (SAP), also known as the Senior Housing Modification Program or the Senior Housing Accessibility Modifications Program, is designed to provide financial assistance to older, low to moderate-income Alaska residents to help them afford the cost of making home modifications. Modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, grab bars, chair lifts / stair lifts, and roll-in showers, must be intended to increase a home's accessibility for those with disabilities and those experiencing other challenges associated with aging.
The program's larger objective is to reduce nursing home placements (and the associated costs) by helping the elderly remain living in their homes or in a small assisted living facility. The Senior Access Program is funded by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) and is administered locally through three non-profit agencies, which are listed below.
*At the time of this rewrite, no funding for the Senior Access Program was available for 2018. However, available funding for the 2018 fiscal year is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
To facilitate understanding of the Senior Access Program's eligibility requirements, qualifiers are organized into three categories.
1) Financial Requirements - The annual income of the household (not the individual) cannot exceed 100% of their geographic area's average household income. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average household income in Alaska from 2012 through 2016 was $74,444, but one should not consider this a hard limit as income is adjusted for the household size and the applicant's geographic area. Visit the Alaska page of the US Census website to see median income by county. It is worth noting in cases of severe need, it is possible for households whose income exceeds these limits to receive a special waiver.
2) Property Requirements - The Senior Access Program is open to both homeowners and renters alike, although the maximum grant amount does vary with each beneficiary group. Single family homes, duplexes, and buildings with up to four residences are eligible. State licensed assisted living facilities, with no more than five beds, are also eligible. However, any home must be the applicant's primary and principle residence. An applicant must show proof that he or she owns the home or provide a rental agreement, in the event he or she rents the home.
3) Other Requirements
Grant amounts for homeowners are capped at $15,000. For renters, the limit is slightly lower at $10,000. For assisted living facilities that are licensed by the state and have a maximum of five beds, the amount is capped at $7,000.
The Senior Access Program is available statewide, and is administered locally by three agencies. As mentioned previously, this information is found below. To apply, one should contact the agency nearest them. Project priority is determined by the agency providing services, but commonly priority is given in the order applications are received. As of late February 2018, funding for the 2018 fiscal year was yet to be released. Some limited additional information about this program is available here.
Applicants are required to obtain certifying documentation of need, complete a Household Needs Questionnaire, and present a Scope of Work (the modification that is needed, the location in the home, and the approximate cost). It may be beneficial to also have a quote for the cost of the desired home modification as well. Seniors may obtain walk-in tub modification quotes here, free of charge.
|Interior Regional Housing Authority Energy Services, Inc.||Fairbanks North Star Borough||452-8315|
|Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.||Northwest, Northern, & Southwest||800-478-7227|
|Alaska Community Development Corporation||Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai, Kodiak, Gulf Coast Economic Region, & Interior Economic Region||800-478-8080|