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Federal Government Supports Aging-in-Place

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 16 October 2001 00:00

When asked whether they'd like to spend their final years in their own home or in an institution, not surprisingly, more than 80% of Canadians opt for living at home.

Staying in your own home as you age is known as "aging in place," an option encouraged by several government programs.

The Government of Canada funds housing programs (many specifically for seniors, that is, those over 65 by the fed's definition) through the federal housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Details on federal programs may vary across the country and each province has its own programs.

Affordability and Choice Today

Affordability and Choice Today (ACT) encourages municipalities, builders and nonprofit housing groups to work together to lower housing costs and increase choice by sharing information about successful examples of regulatory improvements from across Canada.

While this program is sponsored by CMHC, it is managed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) and the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA). For information, contact the national offices of FCM and CMHC or visit the website www.actprogram.com .

The Emergency Repair Program

ERP helps homeowners in rural and remote areas make emergency repairs that foster home safety. The amount of the contribution depends on the cost of repairs. Maximum grants vary from $4,635 in southern areas to $8,242 in far northern areas.

Home Adaptation for Seniors' Independence

HASI helps low-income Canadians, age 65 or older, who have age-related disabilities make useful adaptations to their principal residence by providing a one-time contribution of up to $2,500. The exact amount is based on the cost of labour and materials.

Rent Supplement Program

Funded by CMHC, this program helps low-income tenants by subsidizing rents. Landlords sign an agreement with the government to base rents on income. The government pays the landlord the difference between that rent and the actual amount. Contact local housing authority or provincial government housing offices for details.

Non-Profit Housing Program

This CMHC-funded program provides affordable rental housing for low-income households. Tenants qualify for rent-geared-to-income through non-profit housing groups or agencies.

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Programs

Low-income homeowners and tenants and those with disabilities can qualify for forgiveable loans designed to make homes, rental units and rooming houses safe and healthy environments. Forgiveable amounts under RRAP vary with area, income and renovation costs and may be as much as 100% of the loan, depending on CMHC criteria.

Many retired, fixed-income homeowners who are struggling with dramatic increases in property taxes and other costs, may benefit from these programs, but only if they know these resources are available. Spread the word among your neighbours and community leaders so that those who need the help are able to age in place.

For more information regarding these programs:

The following related publications are available at no charge:

Supportive Housing for Seniors

Housing Choices for Older Canadians

Meeting Seniors' Housing Needs: A Guide for Community Groups.

For more articles by P.J. Wade, please press here .

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