Housing program expansion great benefit

A home is important for people. It provides a sense of comfort, security, independence and ownership.

That’s why the decision by the City of Columbus to amend and expand a housing program for the elderly and disabled is welcome news.

The expansion allows the city to issue forgivable, three-year, interest-free loans to low-to-middle income city homeowners who are at least 55 years old, and are intended to make homes more accessible and easier to stay in.

A household can receive a maximum of $15,000, although the city can award up to $25,000 for certain emergencies such as a leaking roof or no heat or water during the winter.

The loans can be used for improvements such as widening doorways, wheelchair access and installing handrails and bathroom grab bars. No longer is assistance limited to fixing roofs, water heaters or HVAC units.

Without such assistance, homeowners would face the possibility of having to move to assisted living facilities that are equipped to meet their needs.

Applicants must meet certain residence and income guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Loans will be forgiven if the homeowner continues to occupy the house for three years.

We think expanding the program is a great idea. The ability of seniors and those with disabilities to remain in their homes lends to their comfort and security, and fosters stability. Worrying about where one might live can be traumatic.

This additional help should be a great benefit to some residents who could use a helping hand and just want to remain safe and sound in their homes.