When my mother became too unsteady on her feet several years ago to navigate from her back stoop to the garage, we had a carpenter build a railing around the stoop stairs and install a grab bar along the back of the house. The whole project ran maybe $1,000, a sum she could afford. If she couldn’t, family would have helped.
Sometimes though, even with family giving a hand, money is too tight for some people to make such needed renovations to their homes.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) has a Home Modification Loan Program that can help.
Established by the state Legislature in 1999, and refinanced several times, it has been expanded to include not just those with physical disabilities, but with cognitive, developmental, and neurological disabilities, and chemical sensitivities as well.
It covers simple things like ramp or bathroom grab bars or widened doorways.
Any homeowner who is a frail elder or has a disability, has a household member who has a disability, or rents to someone with a disability (in a building with fewer than 10 units) can apply for this loan.
Depending on the income, you can borrow between $1,000 and $30,000 to make improvements that will allow you to remain living in your home. The improvements have to relate specifically to the applicant’s disability and his or her ability to function on a daily basis.
Depending on income, some loans carry 3 percent
Homeowners are allowed to hire the designer and/or the contractor of their choice.
These are one-time loans. Borrowers cannot come back for more funding for the same property once their project is complete.
Eligibility guidelines and instructions on how to apply can be found on the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s website --www.mass.gov/mrc /hmlp.
You can also call (617) 204-3739; or (800) 245-6543 (voice/ TDD) or email susan.gillam @state.ma.us.
You can also write to Home Modification Loan Program, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, 27 Wormwood St. Suite 600; Boston MA 02210, attn. Susan Gillam.