Home Modification and Repairs for Older Adults: Challenges and Opportunities for State Units on Aging: This report by the USC Fall Prevention Center of Excellence and ADvancing States reports on a national survey
STATE OF MAINE AGING AND DISABILITY SERVICES (State Unit on Aging)
State Units on Aging (SUAs) are designated state-level agencies that develop and administer state plans that advocate for and provide assistance, including home modifications or repairs, to older residents, their families, and adults with physical disabilities. SUAs administer funds, including Older Americans Act funds, which may be used to support home modification or repair services through local Area Agencies on Aging and other state and local entities. Examples include:
1. Maine Family Caregiver Support Program: Caregiver Respite Program
Program Description: The Caregiver Respite Program supports family caregivers by reimbursing costs incurred by providing care for a person with dementia. This care might take place in the home, at an adult day program, or overnight in a facility (on a limited basis). Services are administered via Maine’s Area Agencies on Aging, and home modifications that support independent living may be reimbursed up to $2,000 over a program participant’s lifetime.
Population Served: Caregivers of persons with dementia.
2. Medicaid Waivers
The Maine Aging and Disability Services Department oversees several Medicaid Waivers that include environmental modifications:
Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities Waiver
Program Description: This Medicaid Waiver program provides supportive community services to older adults and adults with disabilities in order to avoid or delay nursing home placement. In-home services are funded through MaineCare Waiver programs or through state funds.
Population Served: Medicaid-eligible older adults and persons with disabilities who meet functional eligibility for in-home services.
Home and Community-Based Services for Adults with Brain Injury Waiver
Program Description: This Medicaid Waiver is for individuals 18 years and older who have sustained an acquired brain injury due to an insult to the brain resulting directly or indirectly from trauma, infection, anoxia, or vascular lesions, and not of a degenerative or congenital nature. The waiver provides services such as environmental adaptations that support community living.
Population Served: Medicaid-eligible individuals 18 years of age and older with an acquired brain injury.
Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities or Autistic Disorder Waivers
Program Description: Two home and community-based Medicaid Waiver programs provide services in a variety of settings including at home, in the community, and on the job.
Population Served: Adults with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorders who want to live as independently as possible at home and in the community.
MAINE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (DECD)
Home Repair Network Program
Program Description: The Home Repair Network program provides funding statewide to address housing problems of low- and moderate-income persons. The program provides housing rehabilitation services administered on a regional basis throughout Maine via Community Development Block Grants. Services include the rehabilitation of occupied or vacant single-family or multi-family housing units, demolition, same-site replacement housing, provision of potable water and sewer, energy conservation, removal/mitigation of lead-based paint, asbestos, radon, or other hazardous material, removal of architectural barriers and the Critical Access Ramp Program (via Alpha One).
Population Served: Varies by region.
MAINE STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
AccessAble Home Tax Credit
Program Description: This tax credit of up to $9,000 may be used for modifications that make the home more accessible for people with a physical disability or a physical hardship who live or will live at the residence to qualify. Allowable expenses include changes to flooring to mitigate tripping hazards, installation of grab bars, installation of access ramps, and widening of doorways. Taxpayers must demonstrate that the work meets certain standards, including compliance with applicable building codes.
Population Served: The tax credit may be used by individuals who earn $55,000 or less for expenses paid for modifications to their residence to make it accessible for a person with a physical disability or physical hardship who lives or will live at the residence.
MAINE STATE HOUSING AUTHORITY
1. Community Aging in Place Grants
Program Description: The Community Aging in Place Grant Program offers no-cost home safety checks, minor maintenance repairs, and accessibility modifications to eligible low-income elderly and disabled homeowners. It is modeled after Bath Housing’s Comfortably Home program and based on the evidence-based CAPABLE Program from Johns Hopkins University. It is administered by eight Public Housing Authorities and two Community Action Agencies.
Population Served: Program recipients must be age 55 or older or have a disability, own their home or live in a home owned by a family member, and have an annual household income limit of 80% of area median income.
2. Home Accessibility and Repair Program
Program Description: The Maine State Housing Authority’s Home Accessibility and Repair Program provides grants to low-income homeowners who cannot afford necessary home repairs, including improvements necessary to permit use by persons with disabilities or who are experiencing physical barriers living at the home.
Population Served: Homeowners must have lived in the home that will be renovated or repaired for at least one year prior to applying and have a household income at or below 80% of area median income.
MAINE STATE ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
Maine CITE Program
The State Assistive Technology Grant Program, funded under the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, supports comprehensive, statewide programs in each state that improve the provision of assistive technology (often home modification-related) to individuals with disabilities of all ages.
MAINE STATE FALLS PREVENTION COALITION
Maine Falls Prevention Coalition
For an up to date list of all state fall prevention coalitions, visit: https://www.ncoa.org/resources/list-of-state-falls-prevention-coalitions/