Deal Finder: Seniors can get help with Home Repairs, Safety Modifications
By LATINA EMERSON, Coweta’s Deal Finder
As their physical abilities decline with age, seniors will often require home repairs or modifications to ensure their safety and make life easier. Financial limitations can make these repairs out of reach for some elderly adults, so several local organizations have stepped in to provide a helping hand.
“We work year-round to identify people who have needs at their home like wheelchair ramps, minor home repairs and some modifications,” said Melanie Reeves, executive director of RiverLife, a nonprofit organization in Newnan that assists with critical home repair projects.
RiverLife helps local residents with exterior home repairs such as fixing unsteady steps or installing handrails and interior modifications such as adding grab bars in the bathroom. Residents can also get help with yard clean-up if they have physical or financial challenges. The nonprofit organization, which relies on the assistance of volunteers, is unable to assist with roofing, plumbing and electrical needs, but can make referrals.
RiverLife receives client recommendations from other nonprofits, but local residents can also contact RiverLife directly to apply for home repair or home modification assistance.
To qualify, applicants must be homeowners. When RiverLife receives the homeowner’s application, a staff member will make a site visit to determine home repair or yard maintenance needs. Services are available to people of all ages.
To ensure all of the homeowner’s needs are met, such as food or transportation, RiverLife will contact other nonprofits for assistance.
“We are so blessed to be in this community where the nonprofits work so closely with one another,” Reeves said.
RiverLife also offers emotional and spiritual support to seniors. The nonprofit has partnered with a student-led organization for the Heartwise Project. Students are paired with senior adults or individuals who are isolated and will call them weekly to serve as a companion. RiverLife also stays in touch with clients and provides items such as holiday gifts to homebound seniors or those who are isolated and lack support.
After working for nearly 20 years in church ministry, Reeves and her husband founded RiverLife in 2015 because they wanted to continue serving their community. To afford building materials, RiverLife raises money and occasionally receives funding for projects from volunteer groups.
To complete the application for home repair or home modification assistance, visit https://livetheriverlife.com/. For questions about the home repair program or to participate in the Heartwise Project, call RiverLife at 678-796-8840.
Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity
Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity offers the Brush with Kindness Home Repair Program to help current Coweta County residents with beautification, weatherization and critical repairs.
Applicants must meet certain requirements, including having lived at the residence for at least the past year, using the home as their primary residence (i.e., not an investment property or vacation home), being in good standing with their mortgage lender, having no liens or judgments on the property, having active homeowner’s insurance on the property, qualifying for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income limits and repaying a portion of the construction costs based on income. Credit and debt ratios are evaluated as part of the process.
To meet the income requirements, applicants must fall between the minimum and maximum income amounts on the HUD income grid based on the household size.
Sample beautification repairs include power washing exterior siding of the house, minor repairs to porches, building handicap accessible ramps, filling in cracks in concrete and masonry and landscaping. Possible weatherization repairs include sealing cracks, gaps and holes in areas with high potential for heat loss, replacing broken window glass and installing storm doors and windows. Critical home repairs that are available include faulty electrical wiring that poses a fire hazard, installing water heaters that comply with building codes, roof repair and replacement, and floor and wall repair and replacement. Most of the program’s labor is completed by volunteers.
To complete the inquiry form for the Brush with Kindness Home Repair Program or to review further information, visit www.nchfh.org and look under the Programs & Resources tab for this program. For further questions, call 770-252-9049, Ext. 210.
Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging
Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging serves 10 counties, including Coweta County, and works to promote independence and well-being for older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing quality programs and services.
The agency facilitates several programs to help seniors. The Assistive Technology program provides assistive devices to clients. These items can include shower chairs, grab bars, bedside commodes, walkers, rollators and canes, as well as telephones with large keys and extra volume and devices to help reach items on the floor. Services for this program are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The program can also refer clients to other referral sources for further assistance.
Case Management is designed to assist individuals with complex cases. The case manager can assist with services that include fall risk assessment, budgeting or other services. In some cases, the case manager can assist the client with gaining access to adaptive equipment, or devices that are used to assist with completing activities for daily living.
In addition, if a client is in a nursing home or rehab placement and meets a certain income eligibility, they can qualify for the Transitions program, which can assist with modifying a home to accommodate the needs of clients returning to their homes.
Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging also offers in-home supportive services, such as personal care assistance, homemaker services and home delivered meals. These services include providing meals to homebound seniors; assistance with dressing, grooming, bathing and eating; caregiver relief services; and services to meet an individual’s social and health needs.
The agency also has a resource database with over 25,000 resources, including home modification assistance, emergency financial assistance, caregiver support group information, emergency shelter and food resources, nursing home or personal care home information, hospice programs and home health agency information.
For further questions or to be considered for these programs, call 1-866-854-5652.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
To assist with home repairs, the USDA Newnan Sub-Area Office offers low-cost loans and grants to seniors who own their own homes. Clients must live in the area the USDA serves. Senior adults who are younger than 62 can apply for the loan, and seniors older than 62 are eligible to apply for the grant.
To receive the 504 Single Family Housing Loan or Grant, clients must complete an application and meet certain eligibility guidelines.
For more information, contact the USDA Newnan Sub-Area Office at 770-253-2555.