Grants to Help Persons with Disabilities Stay in Their Own Homes

Home Modification Brings Independence to Hundreds

Illinois is investing an additional $2 million to support the Home Modification Program, a statewide program that adds ramps, chair lifts and other features to homes so lowincome seniors and residents with disabilities can continue to live in their communities, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), a state agency dedicated to creating and preserving affordable housing, will allocate the grant money to 14 non-profit organizations and public agencies around the state to administer the program.

"Providing increased mobility, such as adding ramps, rails, chairlifts and other improvements to their homes, helps Illinoisans with special needs and empowers them by giving them the opportunity to live in community settings," said Governor Blagojevich. "This program is vital to helping people on limited incomes maintain the independence that many take for granted."

With this latest round of grants, the Home Modification Program will achieve the milestone of completing improvements for 200 low-income families. Residents who qualify can receive up to $25,000. Since its inception in 2006, the program has awarded more than $5 million in grants to remodel homes so persons facing physical challenges can continue to stay in their communities and live independently, reducing the number of people needing residence in institutions in Illinois.

IHDA initiated a partnership with the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to further the State's efforts to coordinate services for qualified residents. As a result of this innovative approach to preserve affordable housing, the Home Modification Program received the 2008 Program of Excellence award in Special Needs Housing from the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

"The Illinois Housing Development Authority is proud to lead the state's efforts on the Home Modification Program. Home modification does more than adapt homes for independent living. More importantly, the program gives families facing the challenges of disabilities affordable housing options enabling them to stay in their own homes and communities," said DeShana L. Forney, IHDA Executive Director.

Rewards are evident in the difference these improvements have made in the lives of residents served. An amputee, Annie Townsend received state grants available through IHDA's valuable partner, Ramp Up, a non-profit organization affiliated with United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago. The group installed a chair lift along the front steps of her Chicago row house, and another one to the second floor. Before the installation of the lifts, 64-year-old Townsend felt limited in her own home. "Now I can get around easier and do things that I enjoy," she said.

The 2008 grant awards allow for a broader geographic distribution of resources and ensure that assistance is available in areas of the state that are currently underserved or not served at all.

Organizations receiving the current round of funding are:

Grantee Area Served Amount Funded Estimated # homes served
Coles County Regional Planning and Development Coles County $128,400 8
Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council Jackson, Monroe, Perry and Randolph counties $144,450 9
Will County Center for Community Concerns Will County $64,200 4
Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials Adams, Brown, Pike and Schuyler counties $176,550 11
Shawnee Development Council, Inc. Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Union and Williamson counties $128,400 8
Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties $128,400 6
B.C.M.W. Community Services Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion and Washington counties $144,450 9
City of Kankakee Community Development and Economic Agency Kankakee County $128,400 8
Tri-County Opportunities Council Bureau, Carroll, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, Ogle, Putnam, Stark and Whiteside $128,400 8
Western Illinois Regional Council Hancock and McDonough counties $128,400 8
Ramp Up Foundation Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties $278,200 13
City of Springfield Office of Planning and Development City of Springfield $128,400 8
St. Clair Intergovernmental Grants Department St. Clair County $144,450 9
Wabash Area Development, Inc. Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Saline, Wabash, Wayne and White counties $144,450 9
TOTAL $1,995,550 118