[GEORGETOWN, DE, August 4, 2023] – Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County, Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity and Sussex County Habitat for Humanity are launching a statewide program to reduce barriers to aging in place modifications for low-income older adults in the State of Delaware. This program is made possible by a recently awarded Older Adults Home Modification Program (OAHMP) grant of $1,248,216 through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This program is especially needed in Delaware. U.S. Census data shows more than 64,000 Delawareans aged 62 years and older own their residence and live on less than 80% of the area median income.
According to Kevin Gilmore, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity CEO, the need for this program is great. “All three Habitat organizations receive hundreds of inquiries each year from seniors who want to stay safely in their homes, but cannot afford the necessary modifications that allow them to do so,” says Gilmore. “More than 25,000 low-income Delawareans face home repair needs. Older adults face the additional burden of home modifications related to aging in place and the costs associated with these adaptations.”
For more than three decades, the three Delaware Habitat for Humanity organizations have worked to make housing safer, healthier, and more affordable. Their newest initiative, Healthy Housing, expands their programing to improve housing conditions for low-income Delaware homeowners. The OAHMP will fund 180 necessary home modifications for Delaware homeowners aged 62 plus that will improve both quality of life and the health and safety of household residents. Clients will also benefit from the participation of occupational therapy professionals as well as a number of wraparound services and needs-based referrals meant to optimize each client’s home environment for safety, accessibility and quality of life.
“Our population is aging much faster than ever, and seniors are among the most vulnerable populations in America,” said Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Matthew Heckles. “This funding will allow Delaware seniors to age in place with dignity and grace.”
The OAHMP is committed to supporting seniors as they age in place through minor home modifications such as wheelchair ramps, grab bars or railing installations, sidewalk and step repairs, and more. Low-income homeowners over the age of 62 are eligible to apply. The program is expected to begin taking applications in the fall of 2023. Contact your local Habitat organization by visiting www.habitatncc.org, centraldelawarehabitat.org or SussexCountyHabitat.org for more information.
About Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County
Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC) celebrated 37 years of impact in June of 2023. To date, HFHNCC has built or renovated over 300 homes and served over 1,000 families. Committed to changing lives and landscapes, HFHNCC provides affordable housing solutions for hard working, low-income families. Habitat engages residents in improving their neighborhoods, provides free critical home repairs to preserve existing homeownership, conducts financial literacy and home maintenance education for families in our homeownership program and builds affordable housing.
About Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity
Since 1990, Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity has built 80 affordable homes for individuals and families in-need in Kent County, DE. CDHFH has also served more than 500 households through critical repair, aging-in-place, and other housing and counseling programs. A key component in Habitat for Humanity’s global mission is bringing people together. In the last 33 years, CDHFH has brought more than 30,000 volunteers together to serve on build sites and in the ReStore, all in support of affordable housing solutions.
About Sussex County Habitat for Humanity
Since 1991, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity (SCHFH) has worked to make housing safer, healthier, and more affordable for low-income families in Sussex County. Programs focus on providing affordable homeownership opportunities, home repairs, accessibility modifications, energy efficiency upgrades, and financial literacy coaching to those in need. To date, more than 640 county residents – including 420 children – have moved into 175 Habitat homes. The organization has also made more than 420 home repairs, modifications, and upgrades to help families stay in their homes and, in partnership with Stand By Me, provided free financial literacy coaching and workshops to over 2,100 individuals.