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Home Modification — Funding Sources

GO Centers for Independent Living
Many CILs may have funds available to assist in home modifications. To locate your local CIL, please call the National Council on Independent Living at 703-525-3406 (voice) or 703-525-4135 (tty)

GO Christian Fund for the Disabled
A matching grant program designed to meet the spiritual and practical needs of people affected by disability. For details, call 818-707-5664 (tty 818-707-9707).

GO Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC)
Available to eligible patients under 21 years old, this agency serves children with certain chronic physical disabilities and health impairments. Administered by the University of Illinois, it serves children statewide through 13 regional offices. Call the main number at (312) 996-7775.

GO Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
Two loan guarantee programs from the Federal Housing Administration, Title 1 and 203K loans, have loan size limits. The FHA programs can provide direct loans with below market interest rates (to 1%), higher than normal debt ratio (to 1%), extended terms (to 33 years), low down payments or financed closing costs. These loans can be used for acquisition or rehabilitation. The 203K program will also loan up to 80% of the repaired value of the home, making it useful for a household that chooses to move and make accessibility improvements in the new home. For details, call 312-866-2729.

GO Home Improvement Structural Alterations (HISA)
This program is administered by the HISA Department of the Veteran's Hospitals. Eligibility requires that the veteran has been hospitalized at a Veteran's Hospital within 1 year of the application date and that the accessibility modifications or equipment requested be deemed medically necessary. If the disability is non-service related, the VA may grant up to $1,200 for accessibility improvements. If the disability is service related, they may grant up to $4,100 for installation construction costs and the prosthetics department of the VA may donate lifting equipment such as chairlifts or vertical porch lifts. Call 1-800-827-1000 to speak with a Benefits Counselor.

Landlords
A good tenant is hard to find, and a good landlord knows that. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 stated that tenants have the right to make reasonable modifications to their apartments . . . accessibility modifications are considered reasonable. Accessible rental units are assets not liabilities. The wise landlord may welcome the opportunity to have such a unit not only for today but for tomorrow. Seeking financial assistance from the landlord may prove to be well worth it.

GO Medicare
Available to persons over the age of 65, this agency will pay for durable medical equipment such as hospital beds, crutches, ventilators, and wheelchairs. Items such as grab bars and stair lifts are usually not allowed.

GO Plan For Achieving Self-Support (PASS)
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under this program allows recipients to set aside income and resources towards an approved plan for achieving self-support without jeopardizing benefits. This plan will cover modifications to a home through an SSI savings plan. Additional information is available through local Social Security Administration offices. For details, call 800-772-1213.

GO Push America
In addition to the numerous projects and programs Push America has that benefit people with disabilities and the members of Pi Kappa Phi, are grants that provide scholarships, additional funding and rewards for service. In one of their programs, Accessability, volunteers build wheelchair ramps for people in low and moderate income areas. In staying true to their mission, Push America is dedicated to leadership, service and making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. For more information call the director of team services, Rob Kelly, at 704-504-2400 x 128.

GO Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April)
The nation's largest volunteer housing rehabilitation organization and the only national-level organization that focuses exclusively on the home repair and improvement needs of lower-income homeowners, Rebuilding Together is uniquely qualified and poised to deliver home modification services across the country. A certain area is selected, and 90% of modifications are done the last Saturday in April. Contact the affiliate in your area to learn about upcoming work days. 1800-4REHAB9

GO U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Provides access to loans that support home ownership, repair and rehabilitation.
Innovative Financing Resources

GO Fannie Mae Foundation
This non for profit foundation creates affordable housing programs supporting homeownership and rental housing. 312-368-8801

Fraternal Clubs
Organizations such as Knights of Columbus or Kiwanis may have in their annual budgets assistance for the disabled.

Local Chapters of Disability Organizations
These informational resources may make grants to individuals and families who demonstrate financial need if funds are available. Contacting the Multiple Sclerosis Society, United Cerebral Palsy, National Easter Seals, etc., may be worth the try.

Special Gift Funds
The Department of Social Services at some of the hospitals may be aware of in-hospital grants that may be available to those qualified. Well worth asking about.
Equity Financing

The following are some avenues for undertaking major accessibility projects refinancing, second mortgages, reverse mortgages, home equity loans or lines of credit, unsecured loan (cash advances on credit cards), and remodeler financing.

Townships/Villages
Townships serving many local villages often times have a Disabilities Coordinator. On occasion, grants are in place with funds available for home accessibility modifications.

FYI: Income Tax Deductions
Many people can take advantage of income tax deductions under the federal tax code. To do so, the cost of the modifications must be treated as a medical deduction and be itemized and shown as an expense on federal tax form 1040 "Schedule A". In order for home modifications or equipment to be treated as a tax deduction, they must be certified by a physician as being required for health reasons. For a renter, the cost of accessibility modifications becomes a deduction from taxable income. Homeowners can also deduct modifications cost from income but need to account for any increase in the value of the home. A written opinion from a competent real estate appraiser specifying how much and why the home's value has increased is necessary and an experienced accountant should be contacted.
Cook County (IL) Sources :

GO Access Living — Center for Independent Living / Chicago, IL
Maintains two modification funds that Housing Choice voucher (Section 8) holders and private homeowners can use to make their homes more accessible. For details, call 312.253.7000.

GO E-Z Access Loan
This program offered by the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago targets two specific groups, individuals with disabilities and businesses that are seeking to comply with requirements of the ADA. The Bank has funds to make loans available at reduced rates. Important features include their willingness to lend as little as $500 over a 12 month period (60 months for larger purchases). Their credit terms are relaxed, ie., items not often included as income are for this program (social security benefits, disability checks, etc.) For information call the Amalgamated Bank (312) 822-3000.

GO Home Repairs for Accessible and Independent Living
Provides financial assistance (to a maximum of $5,000) to individuals with disabilities in Chicago over 60 years of age. Services are provided through non-profit community agencies under contract with the Department of Housing. Specific services may include door and window repairs, glass repair, installation of smoke detectors, grab bars and/or ramps. Community agencies provide on-site inspections to determine services needed. Chicago Department of Housing (call 311 or 312.744.5000 TDD: 312.744.1691).

GO Illinois Ready Access Loans
The Illinois Treasurer's Office and financial institutions work together to assist individuals with disabilities by providing capital to the borrower at a lower rate of interest for the purpose of accessibility modifications or adaptive equipment. The percentage rate depends on the length of the loan. For more information contact The Treasure's Office at (312)814-1700.

GO Illinois State Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)
There are several offices located throughout the state servicing people with disabilities from ages 18-59. Government funding is available those qualifying for home accessibility modifications. For details call 1-800-252-4382 (voice) or 312-793-9350.

GO Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
Provides financial assistance (to a maximum of $10,000) to individuals with disabilities for structural alterations that increase the accessibility of homes or apartments. Serves Chicago residents under 60 years of age. Call 312-744-7054 (voice) or 312-744-4964 (tty).

GO Progress Center — Center for Independent Living / Forest Park, IL
Community Reintegration Program provides assistance to people who want to move from a nursing home back to their community. For details, call 708.209.1500.

GO Ramp Up Foundation (United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago)
Enhances home accessability for individuals with disabilities. For details, call 312-368-0380.

GO TechConnect Low Interest Loan Program (Illinois Assistive Technology Project)
Provides loans to Illinoisans with disabilities and their families to purchase assistive technology equipment and services. For more details, call 800.852.5110.

Council for Disability Rights

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