Spring 2016 - Bill 5: Seniors' Housing
Everyone deserves to live safely and with dignity, which is why we’ve made affordable, safe, appropriate housing a priority. The Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP) is one way we are addressing this issue.
Seniors say that being able to stay at home for as long as they choose or are physically able is vital to their sense of independence and quality of life. Home means comfort, security and a greater sense of well-being.
On average Alberta seniors’ homes are older than that of the general population and of lesser value, suggesting they may be in greater need of repair. The SHARP program will help seniors stay safe and independent in their own homes for as long as possible.
This program will provide eligible senior homeowners with low-interest home equity loans of up to $40,000 to finance repairs and adaptations like widening doorways or hallways, installing walk-in tubs, replacing roofs, and electrical repairs. These loans do not require monthly loan payments, but rather will be repaid upon sale of the property, or earlier if the senior chooses.
A grant component in the program will help eligible seniors who do not qualify under the loan program, but require financial support for critical home repairs. This program will also include consumer protection measures to ensure seniors know their rights when hiring contractors and cancelling contracts. It will also help generate new work for contractors and help stimulate the economy.
As Premier Notley said in her recent address, Alberta’s biggest strength is our people. Seniors built this province and it is up to us to ensure that they live with dignity and safety, in their own homes for as long as possible. Starting July 1, 2016, the SHARP program will provide one more option to ensure that accessible, safe and healthy homes are available to Alberta seniors.
Bill 5 passed third reading on April 13, 2016 and came into force May 27, 2016.