Fairfax Area Resources for Home Modifications
Fairfax Area Resources for Home Modifications
Reinventing your home so you can thrive in your environment for a lifetime!
This resource guide for Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, and the City of Falls Church can benefit:
- older adults who want to renovate their homes to create an environment where they can age safely in place;
- working-age adults and/or family members with disabilities who are facing barriers to accessibility at home; and
- anyone who wants a home that is welcoming, comfortable, and safe for everyone!
Step-free entrances, ramps, widened doorways, and bathrooms with ample maneuverability—as well as flooring adaptations, lighting, lever door knobs, faucet handles, and grab bars—are just a few examples of renovations and home modifications covered by this guide’s resources.
Information and Referrals
Aging, Disability, and Caregiver Resources, Department of Family
703-324-7948 (TTY 703-449-1186); email@example.com
www.fairfaxcounty.gov/olderadults or www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/disabilities
Professional staff facilitate the social-service goals (including home modification) of older adults, adults with disabilities, and caregivers by providing service information and referrals, education, advocacy, and solution management.
Assessment or In-Home Consultation for Home Modifications
Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) know about home
modifications and remodeling. They may be architects, designer-builders,
remodelers, or occupational therapists. CAPS complete a
3-day training and receive certification from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). They do not accept health insurance and usually charge a flat fee. To learn more, visit www.nahb.org/caps or call 800-368-5242 (TTY: 711).
Occupational Therapists (OT) are health-care providers licensed to match individual abilities with needed supports (e.g., home modifications). They may charge a flat-fee or by the hour and may accept health insurance. For more information, visit www.aota.org (click on “Productive Aging”) or call 301-652-6611 (TTY 711). For referrals, check with your doctor.
Other Resources: In some instances, a knowledgeable architect or interior designer can be helpful with home modification projects large and small. Find an architect at the Northern Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, https://aianova.org/workingwithanarchitect.php (be sure to read their “Questions to Ask Your Architect”), or call 703-549-9747. For designers, search “Find a Pro” at the website of the American Society of Interior Decorators, www.asid.org, or call 202-546-3480.
Home Modification Grant Programs
Accessibility Grants for Renters, Virginia Housing Development
1-877-843-2123 (TTY 711 in Virginia, or toll free: 800-828-1140)
(click on “Accessible Rental Housing” at right)
Landlords must let tenants make their homes accessible, but tenants often pay the cost. Grants of up to $2,800 are available for tenants earning less than 80% of Fairfax area median income (1-person household: $47,600; 2-person: $54,400; 3-person: $61,200). Grant limit for clients with a DD Waiver is $10,000. Modifications must relate to tenant’s functional needs.
Charitable Fund Award, Commonwealth Community Trust
804-740-6930 (TTY 711)
For Virginia residents with disabilities who demonstrate financial need, awards offer assistance with the purchase of medication, services, or equipment (e.g., home safety modifications, such as wheelchair ramps and grab bars). Applicant must meet poverty guidelines and/or receive SSI and/or Medicaid benefits. Maximum award per individual is $1,000.
Disability Services Planning & Development (DSPD), Fairfax County
Dept. of Family Services
703-324-5421, TTY 703-449-1186, firstname.lastname@example.org
Connects residents of Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church with resources to help acquire funding that can be used for low cost home modifications for accessibility.
Issues grants of up to $10,000 to individuals with disabilities up to the age of 65 who need assistive technology or equipment to maintain their independence in the community. An example might be money to install a stair lift to allow a person to remain in a two-story residence.
Granting Freedom, Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA)
804-343-5749 or toll free in VA 800-828-1140 (TTY 711); email@example.com
Home modifications for veterans or service personnel who sustained a line-of-duty injury resulting in service-connected disability. Funds can be used, for example, to widen doorways, add ramps for wheelchair accessibility, and/or install grab bars in a bathroom.
Home Repair for the Elderly (or Disabled Adults) Program
703-246-5179 (TTY 711); firstname.lastname@example.org
Offers home repairs and home modifications costing up to $500 in materials and a crew of workers for up to one week. Participant must be: a resident of Fairfax County or Fairfax City, own or reside in the home, be 62 years of age or older or have a disability, or have family members with disabilities. Annual income limit may now be up to $52,550 for a 1-person household and $60,050 for 2 persons. Monthly housing expenses must be greater than 25 percent of monthly income.
Rebuilding Together of Arlington–Fairfax–Falls Church
703-528-1999 (TTY 711)
To improve the safety of owner-occupied homes, Rebuilding Together offers grab bars and handrails, wheelchair ramps, doorway widening, bathroom modifications, and larger-scale repairs. Clients must intend to live in the home for at least 2 more years. Priority for older adults and people with disabilities. Household income limits: 1-person, $47,950; 2-person, $54,800; 3-person, $61,650.
Residential Repair & Renovation Project, Fairfax Area Agency on Aging (including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church)
703-324-7721 or 703-324-7210 (TTY 711)
This benefit is available to residents who participate in one of two county Health & Wellness Care Coordination programs: (1) A Matter of Balance, a free eight-week program that offers exercise classes and workshops; or (2) the Chronic Disease Self-Management program, a six-workshop series promoting action planning for healthy well-being for those with a chronic condition (or their caregivers). Participating adults aged 60+ or adults with a disability can receive home safety inspections and in-home modifications, such as grab bars, ramps, and minor repairs, to enable them to stay in their own homes as long as possible.
Visual Smoke Detector Program, Fairfax County Department of Fire and Rescue/Northern Virginia Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NVRC)
Owners/renters can modify their residences with a visual smoke detector. For renters, the landlord must provide visual detectors on request: http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title36/chapter6/section36-99.5. Owners who cannot afford a visual detector can apply to the Visual Smoke Detector Program; contact Debbie Jones at NVRC, email@example.com, for the one-page grant form. Fairfax City residents should consult www.fairfaxva.gov/government/fire-department/services for information on obtaining strobe smoke detectors. Falls Church City residents, consult www.fallschurchvfd.org/detectors.asp .
Home Modification and Real Estate Tax Credit Programs
Livable Homes Tax Credit, Virginia Dept. of Housing & Community Development (DHCD)
804-371-7124 (TTY 711)
The Commonwealth of Virginia offers income tax credits of up to $5,000, or 50% of the cost, for retrofitting existing dwellings or incorporating livable-home features in new homes. Excess may be carried forward up to 7 years. Retrofits include barrier-free route to a zero-step entrance; widened doors and hallways; lifts and elevators; accessible light switches; and accessible bathroom and kitchen facilities—to name just a few examples. Applications are due by February 28 of the year following completion of the purchase or retrofit(s).
Tax Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities, Fairfax County
703-222-8234 (TTY 711)
Real estate tax relief, tax relief for renters, and car tax relief are available to income/asset eligible citizens who are 65 or older or have a disability. Returning applicants must file between January 1 and April 1. First-time filers have until December 31.
Tax Relief for Seniors and Residents with Disabilities, City of Fairfax
703-359-2486 (TTY 711)
Real estate tax relief and rent relief on a year-to-year basis to income/asset eligible residents aged 65 and older and persons with disabilities. Applications go out in early February and must be returned to the Finance Dept. no later than April 15. Application is confidential, not open to public inspection.
Tax Relief for Seniors and Residents with Disabilities, City of Falls Church
703-248-5046 (TTY 711)
Tax relief is a program that provides relief of taxes through exemptions and deferrals for income/asset eligible seniors (at least 65 years of age), residents with disabilities (“permanently and totally disabled”), disabled veterans, and surviving spouses of armed services members killed in action. The deadline to submit your application is April 15 of each year.
Home Modification Loan Assistance Programs
Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority (ATLFA), Commonwealth of Virginia
804-662-9000 (TTY 711); firstname.lastname@example.org
Formerly the “New Well Fund,” ATLFA is a lower-interest loan program to help Virginians with disabilities acquire assistive technology and make home modifications. Loans are available with no down payment and longer terms. Individuals can borrow up to $30,000 (more in some cases). Special consideration is given for medically related credit issues and people with weak credit.
0% Interest Home Improvement Loans, City of Fairfax Renaissance Housing Corporation
703-385-2494 (TTY 711)
The Fairfax Renaissance Housing Corporation offers loans for repairing or modifying City of Fairfax homes built at least 10 years ago. Home equity lines of credit up to $250,000 are available for owner-occupied, single-family detached homes (prospective buyers with purchase contract may be eligible); no interest is paid by homeowner for first two years. Loans are subject to credit approval.
Adult and Aging’s Financing for Adaptive Equipment Purchases
The Fairfax Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has a few options to help people
obtain adaptive equipment, such as the Caregiver Discretionary Fund, the
AAA Gift Fund, and the GAP Fund. These Adult and Aging programs are a
“last resort” and are only available for existing AAA customers.
Medicare, Medicaid (including Medicaid waivers), private insurance,
nonprofits, and support/family resources should be used first to get
adaptive equipment when needed. Call 703-324-7694 or
e-mail Kim.Karlinchak@fairfaxcounty.gov for more information about these programs.
Tips for Successful Home Modification
1. Check first with your doctor, occupational therapist, or other health specialist BEFORE you begin any specialized home modification for the independence of a loved one.
Home modifications affect your health and safety—check with a health provider before making changes to ensure that they will be beneficial for the person that needs them, and they will be a wise investment to keep you and your family at home as long as possible. Several of Virginia’s Medicaid Waivers include funding for home modifications. For more information about Medicaid Waiver funding for home modifications, visit: https://thearcofva.org/resources-services/medicaid-waivers/ .
2. Get organized.
There can be many steps to making successful home modifications, even small projects. An excellent planning guide for home modifications for older adults or adults with disabilities is the AARP HomeFit Guide, available free for download, along with other guides and worksheets to help you make the most out of your home modification project, at www.aarp.org/homefit. For more information, call the Virginia office of AARP at 866-542-8164 (TTY: 711).
3. Review best practices for locating contractors.
Scams occur too often. Fairfax County offers information on hiring a qualified contractor and advice on ensuring you aren’t the victim of a crime. Tips to keep in mind include (a) obtain bids from 3 contractors, (b) ask for 3 references from each one and check out their previous work, and (c)get recommendations from neighbors, friends, or relatives who have completed a home improvement project. Write down which contractors you interview and what was said. See best practices for hiring reliable contractors at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer/education/contractors.htm.
If you are the victim of a scam, or have doubts about a contractor, Fairfax County has a process for filing complaints online: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer/complaints.htm . Complaints can also be submittedby phone 703-222-8435 (TTY 711), or via e-mail at email@example.com.
4. Check to see if you need a building permit.
How can you find out if you need a building permit for your home modification project? Contact your local Department of Public Works and Environmental Services to find out:
- Fairfax County: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/buildingpermits, 703-222-0801 (TTY 711)
- City of Fairfax:www.fairfaxva.gov/government/code-administration , 703-385-7830 (TTY 711); firstname.lastname@example.org.
- City of Falls Church:www.fallschurchva.gov/232/Building-Safety ; 703-248-5080 (TTY 711); email@example.com .
5. Don’t tolerate discrimination!
If you experience discrimination, you have rights under the Fair Housing Act, which contains language on the responsibilities of landlords, homeowner’s associations, contractors, or other parties related to home modification projects. The county’s Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs (OHREP) enforces the Fair Housing Act and investigates complaints: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ohrep 703-324-2953 (TTY 711). OHREP also offers the following resources: a Fair Housing Toolkit: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ohrep/hrd/publications/fairfax_county_toolkit.pdf and a Fair Housing Guide for People with Disabilities: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ohrep/hrd/publications/disability_rights_brochure.pdf.
For more information about any resource listed in this guide,
call 703-324-5421, TTY-703-449-1186, visit
www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/disabilities or consult the
Building For All Committee (BFAC)at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/universaldesign .
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of
disability in all programs, services and activities. For more
information, or to request this document in an alternate format, call
TTY 703-449-1186 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
--Updated September 2017--