Bonacic Announces "access To Home" Awards

John J. Bonacic

December 06, 2005

State Senator John J. Bonacic, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction & Community Development, today announced $400,000 in State funding he helped secure under the State's new "Access to Home" Program.

Access to Home is a $10 million initiative Bonacic helped develop as part of the State Budget. The program makes grants available to organizations which serve disabled people so home modifications can be made, allowing those with disabilities to stay in their home.

"Making an award so someone with a disability can stay in their home is significantly cheaper than having these individuals be forced to look elsewhere, or, even be sent to live in an assisted living or nursing home facility.", Bonacic said.

Regional Economic Community Action Program, Inc. (RECAP), of Orange County, will receive $200,000 in funding. RECAP will use the funding to provide accessibility modifications to housing units occupied by low income physically disabled, developmentally disabled, and the elderly.

Rural Ulster Preservation Company (RUPCO), of Ulster County, will also receive $200,000 for the same purposes.

Grants to homeowners up to 100% of the total cost of the adaptations to a maximum of $25,000 can be made under the program. This year, seventy three applications for requests totaling nearly $14 million were submitted to the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for funding. Fifty four applicants, including RUPCO and RECAP, were selected for funding.

Senator Bonacic recently hosted a housing forum in Goshen which focused, in part, on the challenges those with disabilities face in housing. "Our population is growing older. We face, over the next several decades, an impending explosion in assisted living and nursing home facilities. We need to be taking steps now to make homes more adaptable for those with disabilities and the Access to Homes Program is one way we can help do that. I applaud Governor Pataki for his foresight in initiating this concept and was pleased to work with him and Assembly Housing Chairman Vito Lopez to keep this program in the final budget," Senator Bonacic said.

Kevin O'Connor, Executive Director of RUPCO said, "We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with Neighbor Works, Resource Center for Accessible Living here in Ulster County to provide critically needed repairs and modifications to homes. This will allow many disabled and/or frail individuals either to return to their homes from institutions or to remain in their homes with their families. We are also appreciative of Senator Bonacic's leadership in the area of housing and his support of this important program."

Charles Darden, Executive Director of RECAP said, "This is an exceptional program that provides the necessary modifications and repairs making homes accessible to the elderly and disabled. We are pleased to be collaborating with the Center for Independent Living and working together to ensure that people coming out of hospitals and nursing homes will be able to be in their own homes. Senator Bonacic has been very helpful, supportive and understanding of the needs of the people in our community."

In addition to the Access to Homes Program, under Senator Bonacic's leadership as Chairman of the Senate Housing Committee, the first in the nation State Housing Tax Credit was created for low and moderate income housing development; the State' Homes for Working Families Program, run through the Division of Housing was created; and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) has created the ReModel NY Program, which is designed to provide mortgage assistance and home renovation assistance enabling first time home buyers to purchase and renovate homes in need of refurbishment.

"Housing and access to home ownership has become one of the most important issues facing residents of New York State. We all know that staying in your own home is cheaper than having to move into taxpayer subsidized housing, or even a nursing home. The Access to Homes Program is another effort to address housing needs and one which will save taxpayers dollars," concluded Senator Bonacic.