Aging in Place
As our housing stock in Wisconsin continues to age, more and more low income seniors find themselves in homes that are in need of critical repairs. For many, regular maintenance has been deferred because they are either no longer able to do repairs themselves, or they’ve had to make hard choices about whether they use their limited income for food, medications, utility bills or for paying for building materials or contractors.
Through Aging in Place, Habitat for Humanity and its partners provide products and services that foster safe and livable homes and communities, and that help people of all ages achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.
Unfortunately, seniors are also often targeted by unscrupulous individuals who are paid for repairs and either don’t complete them or do substandard work. Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Wisconsin are working to address this growing need with the creation of the “Aging in Place” program. Adding to our traditional house construction, rehab or repair programs, this project will focus on helping Wisconsin seniors stay in their homes, building wheelchair ramps, making modifications like grab bars, handrails or other adaptive devices, or helping seniors with more extensive repairs like fixing or replacing leaking roofs, installing windows and doors that help keep out the cold and lower heating bills.
Too often, our older adults are too proud to ask for help. They’ve worked hard and supported their families their entire lives. Habitat provides a “hand up, not a hand out,” working with our seniors to provide zero interest loans for these repairs, with affordable payment amounts based on their income. These payments then are recycled to help other seniors in their communities, giving them a way to help their neighbors as well, and renewing their sense of pride in their homes and in their communities.