United Way of Long Island has been awarded a $1 million Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Older Adults Home Modification Grant Program (OAHMP). Funds will be applied to make safety and functional home modifications and limited repairs to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners that allow them to age in place.
Long Island’s population is continuing to age; according to 2019 U.S. Census population estimates, there are more than 300,000 Long Islanders 65 years of age or older. The number of residents age 70 and older in Nassau and Suffolk counties is expected to increase by more than 220,000 over 25 years, according to Northwell Health. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older Americans, making the program even more essential.
Stay at home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on housing conditions that put health and safety at risk. This program is designed to help prevent Long Island seniors unnecessary hospitalizations and/or skilled nursing facility admissions.
“Seniors across Long Island have made their desire to live in their own homes resoundingly clear, which is why the work that United Way of Long Island does is so vital,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. “I was proud to support United Way’s federal funding application for their Safe At Home For Seniors program. $1 million is now on its way to help hundreds of seniors across Long Island with repairs and modifications to their homes so they can age in place and in dignity, and I will continue to advocate for a federal investment in home and community-based services.”
The delivery of the HUD OAHMP grant requires a home assessment by a licensed occupational therapist (OT). United Way’s community partners, along with the OT’s will help identify the repairs most critically needed for seniors to facilitate aging in place. The types of repairs to these homes will include bathroom renovations (i.e. installing no-slip strips, grab bars, transfer benches) and accessibility features (i.e. lever handles on all doors and faucets, handheld shower heads, wheelchair ramps).
“There has never been a more important time than now to ensure the safety of our senior citizens when living independently at home,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “Small changes in seniors’ homes can make a huge difference in their lives. This HUD modification program will enhance United Way’s already existing Safe at Home for Seniors program allowing our elderly neighbors to safely age in place.”
Since 1995, United Way’s Housing Division has provided healthy home and accessibility modifications to older adults, veterans, and people with disabilities to help them remain safe, healthy and independent in their homes and communities for as long as possible. “Our goal is to enable older adults to remain in their homes through low-cost, high impact modifications,” said Rick Wertheim, Senior Vice President of Housing and Green Initiatives Department and project director for the new initiative. “This will help seniors stay safe in the comfort of their own home and age in place with dignity.”
United Way is replicating the design of the CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place: Advancing Better Living for Elders) program developed by the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Evidence shows that every $3,000 spent in home accessibility modifications can yield more than $20,000 in healthcare savings.
The home modification program will launch in January of 2022 and expects to serve 150 clients over three years. To qualify, residents must live in and own private residences and be at least 62 years old and reside in Brentwood, Central Islip, City of Glen Cove, City of Long Beach, Huntington Station, North Bellport, Riverhead, Village of Hempstead or Wyandanch.
United Way of Long Island also seeks to provide health and social services to older residents, helping them age in their homes. All participants in this program are connected to assistance for which they may qualify, such as veterans assistance, 2-1-1 information and referral, Project Warmth, social work, financial and legal help and health and prevention services. To qualify or to learn more about United Way’s home modification program visit www.unitedwayli.org
About United Way of Long Island
United Way of Long Island fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We recruit people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. United Way of Long Island is part of a worldwide network spanning across 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. For more information about United Way of Long Island, follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.