May is Older Americans Month: USDA home repair loans and grants available

SYRACUSE — May has been declared “Older Americans Month” to recognize and show appreciation to our Nation’s older citizens. Older Americans have provided a lifetime of contributions to their communities.

Older adults are a growing and vital part of our country. The baby boom generation is now between the ages of 53 and 71. As they grow older, they may need services to allow them to retire, live with dignity and respect and enjoy new opportunities.

To ensure decent, safe and affordable housing remains available, USDA Rural Development can provide assistance through home repair loans and grants to remove health and safety hazards or make a home accessible for household members.

Funds can be used to repair or replace furnaces, appliances, electrical, foundations, siding, roofing, windows, plumbing, wells, septic systems, and other health and safety hazards. Loans are available up to $20,000 at a one percent fixed interest rate for up to 20 years.

Seniors age 62 and older who cannot qualify for a loan may be eligible for a grant of up to $7,500, or a loan and grant combination to make needed repairs and improvements.

Program eligibility is based on household income that cannot exceed 50 percent of the area median income and the property must be located in rural communities. Almost all communities in rural New York are eligible for housing programs.

Go to the website for eligible areas to determine if you are within the established income limit based on the size of household and county and if the property is located within an eligible area.

Jerry H., a senior resident of Perrysburg, needed assistance replacing his deteriorated roof on his home before the winter weather set into New York State. The USDA’s 504 Home Repair Loan and Grant program made these repairs possible and allowed him to stay near his family and in the place that he has called home for more than 20 years.

Visit and click on the link for “Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants” under Key Feature Programs for more information and a list of contact information.