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CHARLESTON -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Board of Directors recently awarded $3 million to 15 units of local government and non-profit organizations across Illinois to help seniors and persons with disabilities make their homes safer and more accessible.

Awarded under the state’s Home Accessibility Program (HAP), the funding will help to prevent unnecessary and premature nursing home placement by paying for modifications and repairs that allow individuals to age at home. This round of funding is expected to assist at least 120 households.

“The Home Accessibility Program is a great tool to prevent premature or unnecessary institutionalization of Illinois’ seniors and persons with disabilities,” said IHDA Executive Director Audra Hamernik. “It is imperative this vulnerable population is not only given the opportunity to age in place, but never feels trapped or confined in their own home.”

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Eligible households may receive up to $25,000 to make home repairs and improvements through a five-year, forgivable loan. The majority of improvements must be for accessibility modifications, such as making kitchens and bathrooms accessible, installing ramps or lifts and making repairs that address safety needs. To qualify, households cannot earn more than 80 percent of the area’s median income and at least one family member must be an elderly person or an individual with a disability or physical limitation. Program funds can be used to pay for the modification and rehabilitation of rental or owner-occupied single-family homes.

Households can apply for Home Accessibility Program grants by contacting one of the funded HAP sponsors that serves their community who can provide more information on eligibility and the application process. For households that currently reside in an area that is not serviced by HAP, there may be assistance available from a different governmental and/or not-for-profit-entity. Those homeowners are encouraged to contact their nearest housing counseling agency to discuss their options at Coles County Regional Planning, 651 Jackson Ave., Room 309, Charleston, serving Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie and Shelby counties, at 217-358-0521. 

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