SENIOR SCENE: Financial Help in Renovating Homes

Intelligencer Staff
Published on: July 9, 2019

Everyone always dreams of owning their own home and for seniors or other individuals with a disability, they dream of being able to continue to live in this home for as long as they choose. Dreams are wonderful, but, unfortunately, the reality of life and aging too often intervene and dash the dream.

Typically, the “dream dasher” includes accessibility and mobility issues that compromise safety and independence, and a financial situation that precludes the necessary modifications.

The >Investment in Affordable Housing Program(opens in new tab/window) is the primary program under which the Ontario Renovates Program component operates. In basic terms, Ontario Renovates provides financial help to qualifying people to repair or modify their existing homes to meet a minimum level of safety. The program has a limited amount of money available each year within each locality, so applicants are not guaranteed to receive any funds, even if they prove their need. In most locations, the money is distributed to those who qualify on a first come, first served basis.

In Hastings County, the Ontario Renovates Accessibility Modification Assistance Program is administered by the Housing Services Office of the Community and Human Services Department, and they began accepting applications for grants April 1, 2019. Their program provides financial assistance to increase accessibility through home modification and adaptations. Eligible homeowners may receive up to a maximum $5,000 grant to reduce physical barriers related to housing and reasonably related to the occupant’s disability.

There are some parameters surrounding the eligibility for these funds with respect to finances and assets, as well as the type of modifications and repairs proposed. Some examples of projects that are considered are ramps, handrails, chair and bath lifts, height adjustments to countertops, and non-traditional alert systems such as doorbells and fire alarms. If your project is approved, the modifications must commence within 60 days of the approval.

If you are a homeowner in Hastings County you can access the application online at http://www.hastingscounty.com under “County Services Housing Services”. Alternatively, you can call the Hastings County Intake Access Centre at 1-866-414-0300 or 613-966-1311 extension 2222 and request that an application be mailed to you.

Some of the information you will be required to provide along with the completed application is as follows:

  • Proof of Identity a copy of your birth certificate or photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license
  • Proof of Household Income a copy of the homeowners’ 2018 Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency
  • You must self-declare that the home is your sole and principal residence
  • Proof of home value copy of your Municipal Property Assessment Notice (MPAC)
  • Proof that property taxes are up to date property tax statement showing payments
  • Proof that the mortgage is in good standing copy of your mortgage statement showing the payments
  • Proof of home owner’s property insurance copy of a current home owner’s insurance certificate
  • Quotes from certified contractors (HST # required) two quotes for the proposed project
  • Declaration of need a written explanation of need that will be addressed by the modifications requested

Beyond the actual materials and labour fees for the repairs, other fees that may be eligible for payment through the program include the following: appraisal fees, legal fees, building permit fees and applicable taxes. You must keep excellent financial records throughout the project, including copies of all invoices, should an audit of your project be requested in the future.

Information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee Wert- Executive Director of CCSH, 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1. Please visit our website at https://ccsh.ca, or email me at shell-leew@ccsh.ca or check out our CCSH Facebook page, or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information and assistance. CCSH is a proud United Way member agency. Funding in part from the South East Local Health Integration Network

?Original at https://www.intelligencer.ca/news/local-news/senior-scene-financial-help-in-renovating-homes