Rep. McNamara, Sen. Felag announce Rhode Island Livable Home Modification Grant Act
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Bristol, Tiverton, Warren) joined with representatives of AARP Rhode Island at a press conference Tuesday to announce the introduction of the Rhode Island Livable Home Modification Grant Act.
The legislation (2018-H 7880, 2018-S 2554) would allow eligible homeowners and renters to retrofit their residence to nationally recognized accessibility standards and receive 50 percent of the total sum spent, up to $5,000, to retrofit their existing residence.
Last year’s budget appropriated $250,000 to fund the grant program, which grew out of legislation proposed by Representative McNamara and Senator Felag that would have created a tax credit for homes that were retrofitted. For that pilot program, all retrofit projects must be completed prior to the end of the State's fiscal year, June 30, and post-retrofit documentation must be submitted no later than July 10. The proposed legislation would codify the grant program into state law.
“As Rhode Island’s population ages, it’s important for us to do what we can to ease the burden of those who have shouldered the burden all their lives,” said Representative McNamara. “When people with disabilities stay active and independent, they don’t utilize health care services to the degree that they would in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Modifying homes reduces falls and related hospital and rehabilitation expenses.”
The act is aimed at helping Rhode Island’s aging population stay safely in their homes longer rather than over burdening the state’s nursing homes, which costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year in Medicaid costs. With the state’s aging population rising each year, there is a distinct need for housing that is safe and adapted to the needs of the elderly.
“The elderly and disabled population in our state have specific needs within their homes that can unfortunately be extremely expensive for themselves and their caregivers. This program will help alleviate the costs to keep our aging and disabled populations in their homes and communities while also saving the state’s taxpayers millions of dollars in nursing home Medicaid costs,” said Senator Felag.
One of the keys for an individual with a disability to remain in their community is the ability to get into and out of their own home and navigate safely within that home, with or without assistance. Renovating a residence by removing barriers allows the individual to stay safely and independently within their home, and out of long-term care facilities.
The Livable Home Modification Grant Application and Post-Retrofit Claim form can be found at www.gcd.ri.gov.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903