Alberta has introduced new rules for seniors who want to stay in their homes but need loans for home repairs and renovations.
“(This) will help seniors remain secure and independent in their own homes,” Seniors Minister Lori Sigurdson said Wednesday after tabling the proposed legislation.
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The Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program allows Sigurdson’s department to hand out loans to homeowners over 65 for up to $40,000 in home improvements related to quality of life.
They could include walk-in tubs, wheelchair ramps, stair lifts or room renovations. New roofs, replacement furnaces and updated hot-water tanks are also eligible.
“Home should mean comfort and security for all of us. For many seniors, being able to remain in their homes for as long as they choose, or are physically able, is vital to their independence and quality of life,” Sigurdson said.
Loans would be made against the equity in a house and would have to be repaid once an owner died or the home was sold.
Homeowners making more than $75,000 a year would not be eligible. Low-income seniors who didn’t qualify for the loans could be eligible for grants for necessities such as furnaces and water heaters.
The government expects to help about 260,000 seniors or 145,000 households.
It estimates there are 515,000 seniors in Alberta, about 12 per cent of the population. That figure is expected to double within the next 20 years.