NEW! Housing Rehabilitation For Seniors

The State's take over of the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) in 2000 opened up new opportunities for Thoma Development's customers. Two of our customers, the City of Cortland and the Town of Verona, have taken advantage of one of these new opportunities. When the Small Cities Program was administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), grant applications for housing rehabilitation programs limited to senior citizens were not competitive. In 2000, however, Thoma Development met with representatives of the New York State Governor's Office for Small Cities (GOSC) to discuss the possibility of State funding for such a program, and in 2002 the two CDBG applications for Senior Housing Rehabilitation Programs, developed and submitted by Thoma, were awarded.

The new Senior Housing Rehabilitation Programs provide funds to projects where at least one person in the household is 65 years of age or over and is both an owner and occupant of the property. Both single family and multi-family properties can be rehabilitated under the Program. While all participants must be low-to-moderate in income, the Programs target those seniors with the lowest incomes and greatest housing need by using an established selection process. Under this process, the most points are awarded for lowest income and worst housing conditions and then projects are ranked against one another. The Senior Programs were developed to address the somewhat unique issues of the elderly, lower income population. Rehabilitation activities that promote safety for the elderly population and affordability for those seniors living on fixed or limited incomes are stressed in the Program.

A document titled, "A Profile of Older Americans: 2000", published by the Administration on Aging states that life expectancy at birth is now 78 and is on the rise. Further, if an individual reaches the age of 65, they can expect to live an additional 16 years, if they are male, and up to 19.2 years, if they are female. As seniors age, the likelihood of their living alone increases and studies by agencies such as the Cortland County Area Agency on Aging show that a growing number of seniors want to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes. Fixed or limited incomes and the ever-rising cost of home repairs often impede the elderly population's desire to maintain their homes and independence. This results in substandard, dangerous living conditions.

In general, elderly homeowners are a proud population. Thoma Development has partnered with the Cortland County Area Agency on Aging for the City of Cortland program and the Oneida County Office for the Aging and Continuing Care for the Town of Verona program, to assist our company in reaching those households with the greatest need. These agencies' input and assistance has been instrumental to the success of these two Programs.