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Monday, May 12, 2014

Help for those "aging in place" in Columbia

    I have blogged on a regular basis about the aging of our planned community. By "aging" I mean both our residents and our residences. The baby boomers who moved into Columbia in its early years into their brand new homes to raise their young families are now retiring and planning on continuing to make Columbia their home. In recognition of this reality the Columbia Association and the Howard County Government have teamed up to provide some support to Columbia seniors who need to stay in their homes. I wanted to pass along some information which I recently received on this program:

CA, Howard County Government funding home repairs to help those in-need age in place

       Since 2005, Columbia Association (CA) and the Howard County Office on Aging have partnered to help older adults age in place, providing financial assistance to qualified CA homeowners who cannot otherwise pay for accessibility or repair expenses for their homes. These repairs help eliminate health, safety and property maintenance deficiencies and ensure compliance with codes and standards, increasing the supply of safe, affordable and accessible housing in Howard County.
    Among the repairs considered health and safety related are:
    Home accessibility, including access ramps, doorway widening and visual alert signalers
    Grab bar installation
    Water and sewer connections
    Plumbing repairs or replacement
    Central heating or air conditioning system repairs or replacement
    Home insulation
    Roof repairs
    Electrical system repairs
    Hot water heater repairs or replacement
    Repairs or replacement of stoves, refrigerators, smoke detectors or security devices. 


    Repairs that this program does not cover include the initial installation of an air conditioning system (unless medically necessary); installation or repair of window air conditioners or similar removable devices; repairs or renovations to areas not used as main living areas; tree removal or landscaping work; washers/dryers.

    The program is for homeowners who are at least 62 years of age, or who reside with a person who is at least 62; and for homeowners of any age with a disability, or who reside with a person of any age with a disability as defined by Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. The applicant must own and occupy the dwelling in Howard County to be repaired, and the annual gross family income cannot exceed the low- to moderate-income limits established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Approvals are done on a need basis, with priority given to those with lower income status. Services are subject to the availability of funds, with grant amounts not exceeding $5,000 — except for in cases of emergency repair expenses for conditions determined to be a threat to the health and safety of the homeowner or the public.

    Apply by calling the Office on Aging’s Maryland Access Point at 410-313-5980 (or Relay 711 for the deaf and hard of hearing) about the repairs and modifications needed. Staff will then contact you to discuss your needs and explore your options and resources. Application packets are mailed out based upon preliminary eligibility. Once applications are completed and returned, staff will call to arrange a site visit that will determine the extent of the repairs and provide recommendations and resources. Applications will then be reviewed for eligibility, and those who qualify for assistance will work with staff to choose a contractor and oversee the contract agreement. Contractors are paid through the county once work is done and inspected.

    Applications are maintained for a one-year period, after which time those applicants that were not assisted must reapply.

    P.S.
         For those of us who have been fans of the Cobert Report on Comedy Central the moving of Stephen Colbert  to CBS was sad.  But I have learned that his replacement is my favorite reporter on the Daily Show, Larry Wilmore!

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