Focusing on Adults 50+ in Mesa, Delta, Montrose Counties

Housing Resources can help

Jun 8, 2012, 3:30 p.m.
Benoit had many improvements made, including having her doorways widened.

By Cloie Sandlin

Are you worried about living safely and independently at home? Do you need to make modifications to your home, but can’t afford it? There may be help.

Housing Resources of Western Colorado’s Housing Rehabilitation program provides low and moderate income homeowners the means to repair and upgrade their homes through a low to no interest loan program. Improvements and repairs can be made to plumbing, electrical, windows, roofing, handicap accessible modifications, foundation and siding. All improvements must be attached to the house.

“The program usually has a waiting list,” Program Coordinator Jani Hunter said. “But we’re having a hard time finding eligible people because we have to secure the deed of trust. To do that, they must have equity in their home. Seniors are really good at protecting their equity. After we do our work, they have to have at least 5 percent equity.”

Annette Benoit is a senior that enlisted the program’s help last summer. Benoit, 76, originally contacted Housing Resource’s Weatherization program to see if she was eligible for an energy and weatherization audit. During the audit, she was told about the Housing Rehabilitation program.

“It was hard for me to get around at home,” Benoit said. “I was concerned about safety, and like many seniors, I want to stay in my home longer.”

Benoit has lived in her home since 2006. Once approved for the program, Hunter came to inspect her home for needed repairs.

Hunter oversees the entire process. Once repairs are discussed, she brings together a pool of contractors for the client to choose from.

“All of the contractors were great,” Benoit said. “It was hard to choose because they had many nice choices.”

At the time, being in a wheel chair was a possibility for Benoit, so they widened the doorways in her home. They also repaired loose transition boards and installed a handicap accessible shower with grab bars.

“I had a tub, but I couldn’t get in it without slipping,” Benoit said. “My new shower has made a world of difference.” The patio in the backyard was made of rickety wooden boards, which were replaced with concrete. A sliding screen door was also installed.

“I spend a lot of time on my patio,” Benoit said. “It’s my little paradise.”

Benoit said the process took about 2-3 months. She said the way Hunter oversaw the project was comforting. “She does a really good job explaining things,” Benoit said. “When you get to be my age, its hard to tell who’s trustworthy. It’s nice to have someone see the whole process through.”

The loans taken out to pay for the project are secured by a promissory note and deed of trust. Loan interest rates range from 0-3 percent.

“They give you a reasonable price to pay each month,” Benoit said. “They really work with your budget.”

Hunter said payments are based on what the client can pay, not the amount of money they borrow. Payments, interest rates and terms can be renegotiated if the income of the client changes. All loans must be paid in full when the property is sold, given away, or inherited.

“It’s an excellent program for seniors,” Benoit said. “There’s something special about staying at home.”

To apply, or for more information on Housing Resources of Western Colorado and the Housing Rehabilitation program, call 773-9739.

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