The Maryland Accessible Homes for Seniors is a statewide program offered to low income elderly individuals that makes improvements to one’s home to increase accessibility. This program aids in allowing seniors to continue to live independently in their homes, rather than require institutionalization, and may include a variety of improvements, such as installing ramps, railings, grab bars, and widening doorways. This program provides eligible senior applicants with a deferred payment loan of 30 years. This is essentially a second mortgage at zero percent interest with no monthly payments. Repayment of the loan is due at the sale or transfer of ownership of the home or when the loan recipient moves from the home. There are also funds given outright as grants to improve the accessibility and safety of one’s home.
The Maryland Accessible Homes for Seniors is a part of the Maryland WholeHome program, via the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. It is a partnership between the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Maryland Department of Aging (MDoA). Funding is part of the annual fiscal year allocation of state funds to the Community Development Authority’s Special Loan Program, the Accessible Homes for Seniors program being one of the funded programs.
In order to be eligible for the Maryland Accessible Homes for Seniors program, there are both individual and home criteria that must be met.
- Must be a resident of Maryland.
- One member of the household must be at least 55 years of age.
- Financial requirements state that income can be no greater than 80% of the Maryland median or 80% of the Washington, D.C. MSA median. As of July 2022, a single person household with income less than $63,000 or a two-person household with income less than $72,000 should meet financial eligibility requirements. In the event the senior lives in a relative’s home, financial eligibility is based on all people residing in the household. There is no asset limit in order to be eligible for this program.
- Must be located in Maryland
- Must be structurally sound and not pose any major safety or health issues.
- Applicant must own and be present in the home that needs repairs/improvements. However, senior applicants who are residing with family members will still be considered.
- Must not have any pending financial cases or owe back taxes on the house.
Benefits and Services
The Maryland Accessible Homes for Seniors program, via the WholeHome program, offers financial assistance for a variety of home improvements to increase accessibility for elderly Maryland residents. Improvements and modifications may include the following:
- Addition of exterior ramps or stair lifts
- Widening of doorways
- Addition of hand railing
- Bathroom modifications, such as adding grab bars, a hand held shower attachment, or a bathtub or shower seat
- Addition of lever handles for faucets and doors
- Addition of rocker light switches and/or relocation of electrical outlets
- Addition of lighting
- Addition or renovation of a first floor bathroom
- Addition of a first floor bedroom
- Relocation of the laundry area
- Closet adjustments
As mentioned previously, financial assistance comes in the form of deferred loans, offered up to 30 years at zero percent interest. Loans are limited to the value of the home owned, debt free, up to 110%. These loans require no monthly payment and only become due when a home is sold, transferred, refinanced, or the loan recipient moves from the home. If an applicant is not eligible for a loan, a grant of up to $25,000 may be available.
Maryland seniors can receive free quotes for walk in showers and stair lifts.
How to Apply / Learn More
Completed applications should be submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development. The DHCD will acknowledge receipt and notify if the applicant is ineligible or the application incomplete. For those who are eligible for the program, a housing inspection will be required. Applicants will need to get bids for the work to be done and then review them with the inspector to decide which bid to accept. The DHCD will require a loan commitment letter to be signed and will schedule a loan closing. After the closing, home modifications can begin. Payments will be processed by DHCD to pay the contractor. To learn more about the Maryland Accessible Homes for Seniors program, click here or call DHCD at 301-429-7821 or 301-429-7847. You may also contact the MDoA at 410-767-1100 or the Maryland Access Point Agency for your particular county. Download the application for the Maryland Accessible Homes for Seniors program. One can also pick up an application at their county Maryland Access Point Agency or at their local County Housing Office.