In 2001 the Decatur Housing Authority, in response to the plight of our elderly homeowners, established an "Elderly Limited Repair Program." This grant program was designed to assist elderly homeowners with the repair of major components in danger of failing, such as a furnace, air conditioning, windows, structural issues, accessibility, plumbing, electrical, roofing, and other health and safety issues determined by the Authority. With the challenge of major home repairs and rising property taxes, many seniors were finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Although their home was a significant asset, they did not have the income to meet their needs. This program was designed to help our lower-income elderly homeowners to stay in their homes and in Decatur.
The Authority set aside $100,000 from its funds for these repairs and allocated an additional $10,000 to administer the program. A maximum amount per elderly homeowner was established at $5,000.
Eligibility requirements for the program were: 1) income at or below 50% of AMI; 2) 62 years of age or older; 3) currently own their home and remain in occupancy for the next 36 months; 4) property taxes must be current or the homeowner must be on a city-approved payment plan; and 5) the property could not have been rehabbed within the last 10 years by a program administered by the Housing Authority.
All homeowners receiving the City's special low-income elderly tax exemption were contacted and invited to apply. Approximately 50 applications were received and a drawing was held to determine the ranking of applicants. All applicants were notified of their place on the list and were asked to contact staff for application processing. The Authority estimated that it could help 20 elderly homeowners under the program.
Staff inspected the homes and determined the most critical, eligible need(s). Scope of work was developed and bids were received and construction contracts were awarded.
Due to varying amounts needed for each homeowner's situation a total of 25 Decatur seniors were assisted with an average repair per household at $4,000. The repairs completed included: roofs, electrical system upgrades, windows, water lines, plumbing, furnaces, and ramps and baths to accommodate accessibility.
After three (3) years of continued occupancy and ownership, the grants were forgiven.