Seniors: City housing resources for older adults

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The Office of Housing developed loan programs that allow homeowners to add accessibility improvements to their homes. (file photo)
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By Sharon Dantzig

Are you an older adult wishing to downsize and stay in the community, but not sure where to begin? The Alexandria Commission on Aging collaborated with Alexandria’s Office of Housing to identify features that are important to older adults. Alexandria’s 2019 Apartment Survey will include some of these items.

The annual apartment survey provides information regarding Alexandria apartment properties with 10 or more units, including the name and location of the property, year built, management contacts, rent of each unit type (as reported by the property on the date of the survey), whether the tenant pays utilities and amenities offered. New for 2019, the survey will include information on accessible units and onsite parking.

The Office of Housing is also developing a map that will show where apartment complexes are located. The survey, which became available in late March, can be found on the Office of Housing’s webpage, www.alexandriava.gov/housing, by clicking “Renter Resources” on the sidebar.

In 2019, the Office of Housing will also publish a condominium survey that provides similar information, as well as condo fees and annual assessment values, as published by the city. The expected publication date for the survey is June 2019. It can also be found on the Office of Housing’s webpage by clicking “Homeowner Resources” on the sidebar.

While the apartment and condominium surveys are intended to provide comprehensive information, please note that some rental apartments and condominium associations choose not to participate in the surveys. Nevertheless, the surveys are a good place to start your search, and the Office of Housing will begin publishing all publicly available information for nonparticipating complexes as a resource to housing seekers in future editions.

For older adults who wish to stay in their home or apartment, the Office of Housing has two programs that can provide assistance. The city’s home rehabilitation loan program helps low-income homeowners repair their homes and/or make accessibility improvements for mobility-impaired persons. The loan is offered at 0 percent financing and repayment is deferred for 99 years or until the property is sold. To be eligible for the program, the household’s annual income cannot exceed HUD-determined income limits, which in 2018 ranged from $65,680 for a one-person household to $101,280 for a five-person household.

For renters, under its rental accessibility modification program, the Office of Housing can provide accessibility modifications, including walk-in bathtubs, roll-in showers and handicap ramps for disabled, income-qualified renters. In cooperation with the property owner, the city provides project coordination and grants of up to $50,000 to complete accessibility modifications to apartments so renters can remain in their homes. The program also offers smaller grants of up to $1,500 to assist renters who require limited modifications.

The Office of Housing provides a range of other services to homeowners, renters and homebuyers of all ages, as well as landlords and property managers. It collaborates with development partners to preserve and create affordable and accessible housing options across the City of Alexandria. For more information, see the Office of Housing’s webpage, www.alexandriava.gov/housing, or call them at 703-746-4990.

The writer is a member of the Alexandria Commission on Aging.

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