2006-08-18 / Community

Pataki Announces Funding For Disabled

In a new program called Access To Home, New York State's Division of Housing and Community Renewal will give over $10.2 million to helping seniors and the disabled stay at home and out of long-term care facilities.

Governor George E. Pataki recently announced over $200,000 in funding, reserved for Queens County alone, to assist not-for-profit organizations in modifying the homes of those with various disabilities.

"Accessibility modifications present a challenging array of design specifications and work measures," explained Wayne Murchison, the Program Manager of Margert Community Corporation.

Murchison was pleased to announce the selection of his institution for the grant on behalf of all those in Queens with physical disabilities. "We'd really like to begin incorporating the principles of universal design, through which living environments are usable by all people, into all our housing development efforts," Murchison explained.

The funding provided by NYC DHCR will allow for home adaptations such as the installation of wheel chair ramps and lifts, stair glides, handrails, easy-to-reach kitchen work and storage areas, lever handles on doors and roll-in showers with grab bars. Once these changes are implemented, seniors and the disabled will have the opportunity to comfortably live at home and avoid institutionalized care.

"We are excited by this opportunity to work with a new partner, Queens Independent Living Center, Inc., whose mission is to empower people with disabilities to take control of their own lives," said Joseph Barden, Executive Director of Margert. "This partnership will significantly increase our outreach within the disabled community of Queens County, and dramatically improve our capacity to serve their unique needs," he added.

Homeowners and renters who wish to be qualify for assistance must meet the following criteria: the occupant is physically disabled or has substantial difficulty with an activity of daily living because of aging; the dwelling unit is a permanent residence; and, total household income does not exceed 50 percent of Queens County median income. Assistance to homeowners and renters will be provided in the form of a 0% interest loan, up to 100% of the total cost of modifications up to the maximum of $25,000.

Funding for the Access to Home program is made possible by fees earned by the Housing Trust Fund Corporation. For more information, contact Deborah Boatright at the NYC DHCR, 212-480-7644; or visit www.dhcr.state. ny.us/ocd/progs/acc/ocdaccahp.htm

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