Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Bloomington, IN - Mayor John Fernandez

Home Modifications for Assisted Living

The City of Bloomington established the Home Modifications for Assisted Living program in 1992 as a joint venture with Abilities Unlimited, an area social service agency with expertise in disability issues. Abilities Unlimited provides point-of-entry assessments for households coping with a disability. The joint program allows participants to remain at home and delay or avoid institutionalization by rehabilitating their homes to make them accessible; it also ensures that they are provided with the services and advocacy assistance they need to be as fully engaged in the community as possible.

Clients come to the program directly through Abilities Unlimited or are referred by other local agencies. Abilities Unlimited develops a written needs assessment for each eligible client and forwards it to the City. The City inspects the property to gather additional information and to develop a feasible work "write-up" within program and budget guidelines. The write-up is then sent out for bids by program-qualified contractors. Once the bids are reviewed and a contractor selected, the City supervises the project to its completion. The modifications include accessibility items such as ramps, door enlargements and other structural changes, and bathroom and kitchen changes. Once the client enters the program, service can be provided within one week; modifications generally are completed within four days.

A qualified household can receive a grant of up to $7,500 for needed and eligible modifications to an owner-occupied home; a rental unit can receive up to $2,500 in funding. Landlords are given the opportunity to contribute to the cost of the modification, and many do. City staff members contact the landlords to explain what is needed by the tenants and to obtain their approval, and then prepare the contracts for the landlords' signatures. The procedure is designed to safeguard the rights of the landlords as well as the tenants.

Since the program started in 1992, assistance has been provided to 65 income-eligible households. Through 1997, a total of $159,874 in CDBG funds had been allocated to it. The average modification cost per household has been $2,460.

Contact: Doris J. Sims, Executive Director, Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development, (812) 349-3401



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