History and Funding
Through the efforts of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and disability advocates throughout the Commonwealth, the Home Modification Loan Program was established through Massachusetts State Legislation in 1999. In 2004 the Massachusetts State Legislature extended funding for an additional five years through a $25 million bond. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) serves an estimated 200 eligible households annually.
In 2008, a third authorization was awarded to the HMLP by the State Legislature in the amount of $50 million. This new bond bill expands the scope of the program by emending the existing statutory language to allow additional disabled populations to now be served. In addition to serving those with physical limitations the program now serves individuals with cognitive, developmental, and neurological disabilities, as well as those with chemical sensitivities.
Elmer C. Bartels, former MRC Commissioner stated, "The Home Modification Loan Program provides a significant opportunity for persons with mobility disabilities to live independently and participate as full fledged citizens in the community. I commend the Governor and the Legislature in providing the resources to make this program a reality."
"We're pleased that people with disabilities, including children and seniors across the state will be able to access funds that will enable them to live more independently in their own homes, " said Pam Burkley, former director for the Cape Organization for the Rights of the Disabled." Many people can avoid moving to institutional settings or move safely in their homes with the simple addition of a ramp or bathroom grab bars or widened doorways."
Joe Tringali, Assistant Director of Services at Stavros Center for Independent Living stated, "The Home Modification Loan program is desperately needed. We have been able to help, with limited federal funds, only a handful of people each year. The demand for this type of service is tremendous and it was demonstrated by the strong support we witnessed from agencies statewide as well as people in the community who sent a strong message to our state legislators. And they listened. We know from experience that people live fuller lives once everyday barriers are removed from their homes."
In 2008, in order to understand the Home Modification Loan Program's impact and cost effectiveness, MRC decided it was important to examine the impacts of the program on its direct beneficiaries and the family members that share their homes. View the Impact Assessment report.
How does it work?
The state-funded Home Modification Loan Program provides loans to make modifications to the primary, permanent residence of elders, adults with disabilities, and families with children with disabilities. Such modifications allow people to remain in their homes and live more independently in their communities.
There are six agencies throughout the state that administer the program for MRC. The program lends money to homeowners who wish to start new modification projects.
Based on the income guidelines, from $1,000 up to $30,000 (inclusive of all costs) may be borrowed in either a deferred payment loan (DPL) or an amortized loan, which is secured by a promissory note and a mortgage lien, except in cases of loans that are under $2,500 which are only secured by the promissory note. An HMLP loan may be obtained only one time per property. Borrowers may not come back for more funding for the same property once their project is complete.
Homeowners eligible for a 0% DPL will not have to repay the loan until the property is sold or has its title transferred. 3% DPL or 3% amortizing loans must be repaid in 5 to 15 years, depending on the amount of the loan, and require monthly payment schedules.
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.