Seniors stay independent with new loan program

Spotlight Staff
The Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP)helps seniors update their homes so they can maintain their independence and stay in their communities close to friends and family.

“Seniors built this province and they deserve to retire in dignity, Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson says in a provincial government news release dated Jan. 13.
“Thanks to our government’s SHARP program, Alberta seniors can receive the financial assistance they need to repair or adapt their homes, supporting them to age in the community.”

More than 800 applications have been received since the program started July 1, 2016, and the government has paid out more than $5 million in loans and about $230,000 in grants.

With an average loan of $16,000 for a couple and $13,100 for a single, about 10 new applications arrive each day.

“It’s really given us a new lease on life, so to speak,” say David and Jill Osborne, recipients of the home-equity loan.

Instead of moving into a care facility, we can stay in our home—close to our family and friends, for as long as our health allows.”

The Seniors’ Home Adaptation and Repair Act includes measures to protect consumers, including a provision to review the costs of repair projects to ensure they are fair.

Quick facts
-The program provides low-interest home equity loans to a maximum of $40,000 per household to seniors with a household income of $75,000 or less.
Homeowners must have at least 25 per cent home equity.
-Low-income seniors who do not qualify under the loan program may be eligible for a grant to help pay for essential home repairs.
Most requested repairs or adaptations include a house roof, windows, flooring, furnace and hot water tank.

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