home modification_programThe Minor Home Modification (MHM) Program from Placer Independent Resource Services (PIRS) is designed to make homes safer, more accessible, and more affordable for individuals living with disabilities to remain in their homes. The MHM Program, which is funded mainly by the Area 4 Agency on Aging, is PIRS’s most popular program and serves up to an average of 15 individuals per month. The program serves residents in Placer County and can be important when considering how affordable housing is defined and who is eligible for loans and grants.

The California State Independent Living Council (SILC) report notes that increasing housing affordability and accessibility for persons with disabilities is a significant factor in living independently. PIRS Executive Director Susan Miller explains, “Placer County’s high median income threshold, coupled with lower population compared to urban areas, often blocks eligibility for loans and grants. This, combined with the fact that overall rental rates continue to climb, makes this program incredibly important to the communities we serve.”

The California SILC report indicates that PIRS works with individuals and landlords to get their permission as well as required permits to purchase the materials and devices needed to make residences safer by removing hazards and barriers. Liz Pazdral, executive director of SILC, asserts, “Affordability and accessibility are very real obstacles for individuals with disabilities to live independently.”

Pazdral adds, “Programs and services, like PIRS’s MHM Program, are necessary in light of the limited funding and accessible housing available, particularly in non-urban communities.” PIRC does not charge a fee for the program, but the ILC does receive donations and grants.

The group states, “We are grateful for our relationship with the Area 4 Agency on Aging for making the MHM Program an ongoing reality for the communities we serve” and the donations received in 2012 went toward “building threshold ramps, installing stability bars and making minor modifications in homes that have a major impact on someone’s life.”

[Source: California State Independent Living Council]