Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

February 6, 2013

Greensburg considering owner-occupied home-improvement program

Rob Cox
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — The city of Greensburg is currently considering participation in a city-only, owner-occupied home-and-life improvement program geared specifically toward disabled residents and those ages 55 and up.

Deb Lilly coordinates the same program in cities such as Rushville, Mitchell, Elizabethtown and North Vernon.

Lilly is Manager of Housing Programs for the Administrative Resources Association (ARA), which oversees and runs the endeavor.

Lilly described the 35-year-old ARA as an “association of small Indiana cities and towns.”

“Our board of directors,” she added, “is comprised of each of the mayors of the 11 towns and cities we represent. We’re funded partially by membership dues, partially by grants and partially by other, various sources.”

As such, Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert serves on the ARA Board. Herbert has expressed a desire to gauge community interest in the program.

“Nothing has been applied for, no funds or grants awarded at this point,” Lilly said. “So, as yet, we’re not accepting applications. At this point, we’re just trying to see how big a response we’d get if we open the program — how many Greensburg homeowners would be interested.”

To gain funding for the program, Lilly added, the ARA applies to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs in Indianapolis.

Once awarded, the grant itself would be distributed through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Lilly clarified, however, that the money ultimately comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a federal-level entity.

“This program is for residents who are aging in their homes,” the programs manager said. “Its specific focus is helping residents age with a greater degree of dignity, so they can more effectively and productively remain in their homes and won’t need to be transferred to a facility.”

She continued, “The primary intent is to address health and safety issues.”

Lilly said that this program is different from previous, similar programs in that an “assessment modification” will be conducted on each prospective home.

“We’re going to go in and observe and interview and work to understand how each resident spends his or her day,” she explained. “We want to understand what we can do to help maximize each resident’s maneuverability through the home.”

A wide range of improvements are available through the program, including improvements to electrical systems, bathrooms, heating, cooling, plumbing, doors, lighting, paint and kitchens. The program, Lilly added, can even pay for accessibility ramps to be added to a home.

“The important thing,” she said, “is that the improvements be as practical and functional as possible; that they improve the quality of life. And that’s another big difference between this program and other programs. Past programs have been geared more toward repairing the home itself. This program takes a more functional, practical approach by attempting to directly improve the living condition of the residents.”

Also differentiating this program from others is the age limit or the disability requirement.

“Previous programs have required applicants to meet income requirements only,” Lilly said. “This program is clearly for aging Baby Boomers and or disable persons.”

Other eligibility requirements for the program include: Single-family, owner-occupied homes only; the home must can’t be a contract sale; and they must be insured.

Additionally, Lilly added, most mobile homes aren’t eligible, but there are a few exceptions.

“For example,” she said, “a double-wide mobile home could be eligible if the owner owns the property through a fee-simple title and can meet other eligibility requirements.”

This is city wide only not county which is another difference from another program.

For more information on this program or to voice your desire to bring it to Greensburg, call City Hall at 663-3344 or call the Administrative Resources Association at 376-9949.



Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.