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
MINNESOTA BOARD ON AGING (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.
Minnesota has a variety of programs and funding streams dedicated to home modifications and home repairs for older Minnesotans. Through these programs, the state strives to reach older adults on Minnesota’s means-tested programs as well as older adults not eligible for those programs. Under The Minnesota Board on Aging, funds are administered to the state’s Area Agencies on Aging to provide home modifications for older people. Minnesota’s 2019 State Plan on Aging, developed by the Minnesota Board on Aging, embeds home modification strategies as key to assisting older low income homeowners to age in the community through affordable home maintenance, modifications and in-home services.
The Minnesota Board on Aging is advocating for the implementation of a state-level multi-agency task force assigned to focus solely on the needs and opportunities related to older adult housing. It is also launching a public-private partnership to complete all home modifications and home maintenance repairs needed by the 16,400 very low-income older homeowners at risk of needing to move.
The Board also works with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s (MHFA) Rehabilitation Loan Program to fund home modifications and maintenance for very low-income older homeowners. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Aging and Adult Services Division has a grant program called Live Well at Home Grant (LWAH), wherein grant money is provided to grantees to build the Long Term Services and Support System throughout the state. Through LWAH, money is awarded to grantees that execute home modifications for homes that lack the necessary structural features and support systems to make aging in place viable. Between the years of 2017-19, LWAH funded several grantees with a focus on home modifications, including the Community Aging in Place—Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) intervention to help older people age in the community.
MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
1. Environmental Accessibility Adaptations: Medicaid Waivers
Program Description: Environmental accessibility adaptations of up to $20,000/year to ensure the person’s health and safety or enable the person to function with greater independence are allowable under the following Minnesota waivers.
1) Alternative Care (AC) (older Minnesotans who require the level of care provided in a nursing facility and who are not yet eligible for Medical Assistance)
2) Brain Injury (BI) Waiver (for people with a traumatic, acquired or degenerative brain injury)
3) Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver (for people who are chronically ill or medically fragile and require the level of care provided in a hospital)
4) Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver (for people with disabilities who require the level of care provided in a nursing facility)
5) Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver (for people with developmental disabilities or related conditions who require the level of care provided in an intermediate care facility for persons with developmental disabilities (ICF/DD)
6) Elderly Waiver (EW) (for older Minnesotans who require the level of care provided in a nursing facility)
2. Live Well at Home (LWAH) Grant Program
Program Description: The Live Well at Home grant program, administered through community organizations, expands the capacity of long-term services and supports to help people age 65 and older stay in their homes and communities of choice. Grant opportunities include environmental accessibility home modifications such as grab bar installation, bathroom adaptations and building ramps and home repairs.
Population Served: Varies by location.
MINNESOTA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY
1. Fix Up Loan Program
Program Description: These home improvement loans with fixed and lower interest rates may be used for energy conservation and accessibility improvements. A contractor may be hired or the work may be done by the homeowner.
Population Served: Diverse projects and income levels are eligible. Applicants must occupy and own the single family home, duplex, triplex or fourplex.
2. Rehabilitation Loan Program/Emergency and Accessibility Loan Program
Program Description: The Rehabilitation Loan program assists low-income homeowners with financing basic home improvements that directly affect the safety, habitability, energy efficiency or accessibility of their homes. The Emergency and Accessibility Loan Program addresses emergency conditions of the home or accessibility needs for a disabled household resident. Maximum loan amount for both: $27,000.
Population Served: Participants must meet program income limits, own and occupy the property, be current on property taxes and mortgages, and have homeowners insurance.
MINNESOTA STATE ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
A System of Technology to Achieve Results (STAR)
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.
MINNESOTA STATE FALL PREVENTION COALITION
Minnesota Falls Prevention Initiative
For an up to date list of all state fall prevention coalitions, visit: https://www.ncoa.org/resources/list-of-state-falls-prevention-coalitions/