A home repair and improvement pilot program designed to help older adults stay in their homes is being piloted by the Foundation for Rural Housing, Inc. The program provides older adults the opportunity to match their repair needs with the best financing and contractor.
The program, called OAHIP, for Older Adults’ Home Improvement Program, is a collaborative effort of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eagle Country, the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Green Lake, Waushara and Adams counties, Summit Credit Union and Rural Housing. It also includes others in each County who wish to be involved from volunteers to Community Action Agencies, Community Development Block Grantees, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Habitat for Humanity. Local aging offices are the main contact point.
Summit Credit Union generously agreed to set up low-interest personal loans for individuals in the eight (8) pilot counties to fund necessary home repairs and improvements. The Bader Philanthropies provided a risk pool. Loans are unsecured, based on individual income and affordability and do not put a lien against the property; some seniors see this as more desirable than government programs.
While providing an affordable funding option makes home repairs accessible to older adults, OAHIP also works with contractors to take the guesswork out of finding a good quality contractor to do the job. All contractors used by the program are pre-approved and the list of contractors the client receives is based on the type of repair and the contractors’ availability to travel for small to medium jobs. The program will produce more jobs in the community, improve housing stock and, most importantly, allow older adults to continue aging in place.