Home repair help: Committee on aging board hears about program for seniors


By Debbie Rogers

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Help for home repairs is available for Wood County seniors.

The Wood County Committee on Aging is receiving $115,000 to assist those who qualify, said Denise Niese, executive director of the committee at Wednesday’s meeting.

The funding is through the Ohio Department of Aging, which got the money from American Rescue Plan Act, Niese said.

“This pot of money is coming directly from the state and we are one of three pilots that they are trying this with,” Niese said.

The other two are Clark County in Springfield and Washington County in Marietta, she said.

Each county is receiving $115,000.

The funds have to be used by Sept. 30, 2024.

“This is a very novel opportunity,” Niese said. “This is a huge opportunity.”

Board member John Calderonello said he was concerned that the limit of $5,000 per project would not help many people — 23, to be exact, he said.

“What proportion of the need will that cover,” Calderonello asked.

“It’s minor, it’s a drop in the bucket,” Niese said. “But it’s an opportunity for the 23 projects that we are able to do.”

Niese said that the committee on aging has been doing home improvements for seniors for decades with other funds, and they have a waiting list.

“This will enable us to take more applications, check them for eligibility and make sure that the projects fit within the parameters,” she said.

Wood County Job and Family Services staff will do referrals from their client base, too, Niese said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem to expend these funds,” she said.

Niese added that they will also will be in need of contractors and handymen and women to work on these projects

“These smaller jobs, it’s harder to find someone,” she said.

Seniors who are eligible to apply must be of moderate income, which is 175% of poverty or, or low income, Niese said. For individuals, the federal poverty level is $14,580.

Some of the projects that could be done with these funds include installing grab bars in showers and “tub cuts,” which make step-in showers. These are the type of improvements that help seniors stay in independent living situations, Niese said.

“It is a most cost effective way of keeping someone in their home,” she said.

Other permittable modifications/repairs include power-washing exterior surfaces, installing temporary ramps, fixing broken window panes, repairing floor tiles, removing carpet and patching cracked plaster.

Also at the meeting, the board:

• Heard from Niese that there are several open positions, and she urged the board to talk them up in the community. The positions are North Baltimore site manager, social services specialist and Northeast and Rossford site drivers.

• Heard that the mosaic window will be dedicated in the dining room of the senior center on June 7.

• Will team with the city and job and family services for a Flag Day ceremony on June 14. This also recognizes elder abuse.

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