MINNEAPOLIS — The U.S. government is helping more Minnesota seniors stay in their homes.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge made a trip to Minneapolis Monday to announce a $15 million investment to the nationwide initiative Housing Modification Program to help seniors age in place.
It comes at a critical time as in the Twin Cities and across the country seniors are the fastest growing population among a growing shortage for affordable housing.
That’s leaving seniors with a tough decision: to sell their homes or try and find the money to make modifications so they can stay here safely well into their golden years.
Betty and John Smith have lived here for decades, but said living here in their 30s is different than living here now in their 60s.
Their home is among the more than 150 that has been modified by Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities over the past several years thanks to the funding from the national Home Modification Program.
The improvements to their home include grab bars, more lighting, more railings, and a new refrigerator, among other things.
The Smiths said they are now raising their grandson in their home and the modifications will benefit him too.
“I would for my grandson to come in from school or anywhere and find that his grandfather and myself on the floor, that we’ve fallen, or stuck in the bathtub all day because I couldn’t get out. And with all those modifications, I’m able to stay here, I’m happy,” Betty said. “My memories are still here [and] I know my neighbors and can help with that. So the biggest thing is that I feel safer now in my home.”
The new $15 million investment to the Home Modification Program will go to improving about 1,800 homes across the country and Minnesota will get a small portion that money.
Fudge said it’s a good start to solving the housing crisis.
“It may not solve the problem and I’m not going to suggest that it does,” she said. “We need more than $100 billion to fix the housing problems in this country. We need at least $70 billion just to fix public housing. We are 1.5 million houses short today of what we need. We have to start somewhere and it’s a good start.”
To qualify, you must be a senior over the age of 62 and qualify for low-income housing. Click here for more information.
Source: CBS Minnesota