AARP, Baltimore Governor Announce 'Accessible Homes 4 Seniors'

BALTIMORE — AARP Maryland State Director Joseph DeMattos Jr. joined Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr., Secretaries Roesser and Hoskins, and Maryland Insurance Commissioner Orr to announce the launch of a million-dollar loan and grant pilot program for income-eligible older Maryland homeowners wishing to improve accessibility in their homes.

AARP Maryland worked with the governor's team to help develop the Accessible Homes 4 Seniors (AH4S) pilot which will provide interest-free, 30-year deferred loans to help cover the cost of installing grab bars, railings and ramps and widening doorways. The loans are expected to average $1,000 to $15,000 per home.

"The vast majority of older Marylanders own their own homes, and in a recent survey of AARP's 800,000 members in Maryland, six in 10 wanted AARP to work with Maryland's elected officials to make aging in place — both in sickness and in health — a reality. Our work over the last year with Gov. Ehrlich and his team to develop this pilot brings us closer to that reality. We applaud the state for taking this first step," said DeMattos, in a news release.

"Older Marylanders are vibrant threads in the fabric of our state. This pilot will allow them to remain in the communities they treasure and enable them to continue contributing to this tapestry," he added.

At the conclusion of the 2006 Legislative Session, AARP Maryland was successful in getting an amendment added to HB 315, the Family Caregiver Assistance Program, which enables low- and moderate-income caregivers to receive up to $500 for caregiving including modifications that would help keep a loved one at home.

AARP was also actively involved in property tax relief, prescription drug affordability, expanding health care through the Healthy Maryland initiative and worked to have the state follow federal guidelines for determining Medicaid long-term care eligibility.

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Source: AARP Maryland

This article originally appeared in the April 2006 issue of HME Business.

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