Provincial Help for Seniors with Home Renovations in Ontario

As people grow older, they may go through physical changes that reduce their ability to accomplish everyday activities. Help to get the $15000 HVMP in Ontario.

Provincial Help for Seniors with Home Renovations in Ontario

As people grow older, they may go through physical changes that reduce their ability to accomplish everyday activities such as climbing stairs or getting in and out of the bathtub.

This is a real challenge for independent-minded seniors who would prefer to stay in their own homes, rather than move into an assisted-living facility.

Fortunately, for Ontario residents, there are programs that provide help for seniors to stay in their home.

Let’s look at the funding available for home renovations through the non-profit organization called the March of Dimes.

Renovations to help seniors stay in their own home

Growing older unfortunately brings a realization that the body is no longer what it used to be. For some, it may be that they find themselves holding the newspaper or magazine closer and closer (or further and further away) in order to read it.

For others, the changes may be more all encompassing, affecting their mobility. As the years go by, people may be confronted with the sobering realization that simply standing up – let alone climbing stairs – is becoming challenging.

Such changes can make it very difficult for seniors to stay in their homes.

Does that describe life nowadays for you?

If so, you’re probably aware that certain modifications to your home can make it easier for you to get around the house. These modifications can go a long way towards allowing you to stay in your own home.

For example, motorized equipment such as a stair lift in which you can sit and be zoomed up the stairs when you have trouble walking can make your home much safer and more accessible.

Similarly, modifying your vehicle to add a wheelchair lift or ramp can allow you to remain independent.

The trouble is, modifications like these can cost a great deal of money.

Funding to help seniors to stay in their home

Fortunately for Ontario residents, there are grants (that is, funds that you get that you don’t have to pay back) to cover such costs.

The grant-giving program for home renovations that can help seniors stay in their home is administered by March of Dimes Canada (MODC) on behalf of the Ontario Government (specifically the Ministry of Community and Social Services).

MODC calls it the Home and Vehicle Modification Program (HVMP).

This program is not specifically or exclusively directed at seniors. The HVMP provides financial assistance for people living in Ontario to pay for renovations that let them stay in their home and in their communities. (So, for instance, the grant is also available to families with children with physical challenges.)

The needs seniors face are precisely what the HVMP was designed to take care of, so this program is available to them.

In order to qualify for the HVMP, you must be a permanent resident of Ontario who suffers from a substantial disability that impacts your mobility and daily function.

So the HVMP grant can be used by a senior to modify his or her own home.

It should be mentioned that if you’re a senior living with a family member, that individual can apply for the HVMP on your behalf.

So if you’re a senior who is not a homeowner, but you live in the basement suite of the house of your son or niece, for example, the HVMP grant can be claimed by your son or niece for renovations to better accommodate you.

Likewise, senior vehicle owners can apply for vehicle modifications for their own vehicles. And individuals with vehicles (as in the example above, a son or a niece) can apply for a grant on behalf of a senior family member who meets the eligibility criteria.

But what if neither you nor the relative you are living with is a homeowner? No problem.

You can also apply for the HVMP as a tenant to modify your living space. The one caveat is that the modifications must be portable devices.

How much can you receive?

Eligible applicants can receive up to $15,000 to fund their home and/or vehicle modifications.

You can only access the HVMP for home modifications once, unless:

  • your condition worsens greatly and requires more changes to your home (e.g. you made modifications for your cane but now you have a wheelchair)
  • you need to move because of a safety risk (e.g. unsafe living situation)
  • you need to move to keep your job (e.g. your company relocates).

For vehicle modifications, you can only access the HVMP once every 10 years unless your condition worsens greatly, making the first modification insufficient.

Another thing to note is that if you make over $35,000, you’ll have to contribute to the cost of the planned modifications.

However, this rule doesn’t apply if your income consists only of ODSP Income Support, Ontario Works, or the Old-Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement.

What modifications can you make?

There are a great many modification ideas that qualify for the HVMP. However, the modifications you apply for have to be directed towards helping you live with your disability.

For example, you can’t get a leaky pipe in your bathroom fixed, but you can have the bathroom rearranged for ease of use.

Here’s a list of the modifications you can use the HVMP for in your home:

  • ramps
  • inside and outside platform lifts, stairway lifts, and lifting/transferring devices, along with the structural changes required to implement them
  • to facilitate the use of a wheelchair, you can have an access path paved between your home and mode of transportation
  • rearrangement of bathrooms to allow safe usage
  • installation of wheel-in showers, wall grab bars, and bathroom safety rails
  • a deck if it’s needed for an access ramp or lift
  • disability features for major appliances that allow the person to use the appliance safely
  • environmental controls may be provided as appropriate; these include remote control mechanical devices that let you operate appliances, switch lights and computers on or off, facilitate the use of a telephone, or to use doors
  • other items that are sometimes added by the Ministry or in the Service Contract.

The HVMP can also be used for the following vehicle modifications:

  • transferable equipment such as hand controls, lifts, safety devices, and others
  • communication devices like car phones if they are necessary to ensure the safety of the person with a disability
  • specialized seating
  • remote control devices to open garage doors for people who use wheelchairs, scooters, or walk with difficulty
  • raising the roof of a vehicle
  • lowering the floor of a vehicle
  • barrier-free modifications to garages or carports
  • other items that are sometimes added by the Ministry or in the Service Contract.

As might be expected with a program that caters for all age groups in the province, funding is limited. So March of Dimes advises that you should look for other options before applying for the HVMP. This program is meant to be the last resort for people who need modifications to their home or vehicle due to a disability.

To apply for the HVMP, you have to fill out the relevant forms and send them to March of Dimes Canada. The forms can be found on March of Dimes Canada’s website, along with instructions as to where to send them.

After you apply, MODC will check your eligibility and assess your situation to decide how much funding they’ll provide.

If you have any questions, you can call March of Dimes Canada toll-free at 1-877-369-4867.