There is nothing like a global pandemic to shine a light on the need for a safe place to live. With falls being the leading cause of injury-related death among older adults, a safe home is especially crucial for seniors.
The Slaggie Family Foundation recognized the need to help Winona-area seniors live more safely at home and invested $100,000 in a new Habitat for Humanity Aging in Place program to make that possible.
For older adults living on a limited income, the cost of repairs can be an unmanageable barrier to making home safety modifications. In our community where 11 percent of households ages 65 to 74 — and to 21 percent of households ages 75 and over — have annual incomes below $15,000, those with accessibility and repair needs are faced with making impossible choices between food, medicine, and safety.
Habitat’s new program will make accessibility modifications and repairs affordable. Even seemingly small things can be life-changing. Installing grab bars in a bathroom can renew an individual’s confidence and independence. Widening doorways can make a room accessible to walkers and wheelchairs. Updating flooring can eliminate trip hazards and help limit fall risks. Determining what is needed starts with the homeowner — with their goals, needs, limitations, and frustrations.
New this year, repairs and modifications will be conducted on a sliding fee scale. Habitat will also work with each homeowner to find financing programs to help with the expense.
“When we launched the 2020 strategic plan, our board was clear. It’s time for us to expand our services to help more seniors and those living with disabilities. We are incredibly grateful to the Slaggie Family Foundation for helping us meet this critical community need for our neighbors,” said Amanda Hedlund, Habitat’s executive director.
As the program is launched, Habitat will expand its partnerships with local experts on aging, including Winona Health, Winona Friendship Center, local Veterans Services, the city of Winona, and more.
Founded in 1994, Habitat for Humanity Winona-Fillmore Counties is a nonprofit organization that works toward a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Open to the public, the ReStore supports affiliate operations by selling new and gently used building materials and furniture. Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating, and preserving homes. It was founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a simple, decent place to live in dignity and safety. The office is located at 126 North Baker Street, and the ReStore is located at 900 West Third Street in Winona. For more nformation, call 507-457-0003 or visit us online at www.habitatwinona.org.