Making a house a welcoming home – a warm and comfortable place where we are free to make decisions which affect our daily lives in an atmosphere of safety and independence – is a primary goal most of us willingly aspire to.
However, it often becomes a decided challenge for some senior citizen homeowners residing in the Nakusp region and throughout B.C. who are aged 55 and over, or a person of any age living with a disability or reduced ability, to find the best and most affordable way of meeting their individual needs amidst the rising cost of property upgrades or maintenance.
The welcome news is that a program entitled Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) sponsored by the BC and Federal governments offers eligible homeowners forgiveable loans or grants in the amount of up to $20,000 per home. In Nakusp and the surrounding communities, the home must also have a market value of just under $200,000.
Successful applicants can have installed accessibility modifications that are intended to promote continued safety and widen opportunities. This would lead to greater independence, benefitting those wishing to remain living within their own homes to the maximum extent possible. If you are a tenant living in a market rental accommodation, your landlord will need to apply on your behalf once eligibility is established.
All adaptations are required to be permanent, fixed to the home and include such supports as handrails in hallways or stairways and level handles on doors. Ramps for ease of access and easy to reach work and storage areas in the kitchen are also accepted modifications along with walk-in showers with grab bars or bathtub grab bars and seats.
One area couple asked me recently if they would still be eligible to apply for a grant considering that there is a low income ceiling in effect which might not qualify them. In this case specifically, the couple lives in a large home but only requires the use of one of their four bedrooms. The response on the part of the BC Housing representative to whom I posed the question, brought them encouraging news.
Although there is a long list of other criteria to be considered, I was informed that this particular applicants’ annual income must not exceed the sum of $57,000 and the value of their household assets must meet the set criteria.
Comprehensive application guides and forms provide full details of what criteria must be met and also the required documentation which must be submitted with your application as well. You may request that these be mailed to you directly by calling BC Housing at 604-646-7055 or downloading them from your computer at www.bchousing.org/HAFI.