April 1, 2009, 2:56 PM HST · Updated April 1, 4:18 PM

More than 100 elderly homeowners could benefit from federal funds aimed at making homes safer and more accessible for seniors.

Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares announced the funding today saying the $580,000 comes through the Senior Home Accessibility Retrofit program.

Maui’s Department of Housing and Human Concerns will partner with Habitat for Humanity and the Department of Health to recruit applicants and perform retrofit modifications.

The program will help as many as 117 low-income homeowners, age 60 and older, who are physically limited, impaired, disabled or have other heath issues.


The funds were awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Economic Development Initiative– Special Projects Grant Program.

“By allowing our kupuna to maintain their social and support networks by living at home, the SHAR program can help them live dignified and more fulfilling lives,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

“Elderly residents who have physical limitations and are living on fixed incomes often cannot afford the needed equipment, modifications and repairs to remain in their homes safely. SHAR will help them make the necessary adjustments that can allow them to continue living where they are most comfortable- at home,” said Tavares.

Home modifications will include converting tubs to showers, installing grab bars in showers, replacing door handles and faucets with ones that operate easily, installing handrails on both sides of hallways, staircases and outside steps, installing ramps, widening doorways and removing carpet. The $580,000 in grant funds will be allocated in amounts varying from $5,000 to $20,000 per home, based on needed improvements.

Habitat for Humanity Maui will accept referrals from social workers, health care providers and other professionals from community service organizations; Habitat will also conduct outreach through churches and cultural organizations and assess applicants’ eligibility.

“Research suggests that one-third to one-half of home accidents can be prevented by modification and repair, and that home modification allows elderly individuals with physical limitations to remain longer in their homes without having to pay for costly premature institutionalization,” said Lori Tsuhako, County of Maui Department of Housing and Human Concerns Director.

“Such modifications are instrumental in helping older people to successfully age in place,” said Tsuhako.

(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009; Information provided by County of Maui.)



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