Senior Chichester residents, Norman and Sharon Hansen, will safely age in place thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Granite State Independent Living which worked together to install accessibility renovations to accommodate the couple’s changing needs. USDA Rural Development and GSIL staff spent the afternoon helping the Hansen’s with household tasks including yardwork and landscaping to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining safe and affordable housing for New Hampshire’s seniors and to celebrate National Homeownership Month which is celebrated each June.
“It’s really, really wonderful that we have this assistance now,” said Mrs. Hansen. “We didn’t know what we were missing until he (Norman) fractured his back.”
The couple has lived in Chichester for 16 years, they previously lived in Concord. Mr. Hansen (81) retired after a lifelong career with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. Mrs. Hansen (74) is an active member of the Center Point Church of Concord where she volunteers with the food pantry. The couple raised two children and have five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. They celebrated their 55 wedding anniversary with USDA and GSIL staff after the service project.
Mr. and Mrs. Hansen said that as they aged, it became harder for them to participate in their community. Mr. Hansen relies on a walker and could not navigate steps in and out of the house, while Mrs. Hansen said that their aging friends struggled to access their home when coming to visit. GSIL, which supports New Hampshire seniors to age in place, provided the Hansen’s with a $4,880 Harry Gregg Foundation grant to construct a ramp into their home. USDA Rural Development supported the couple through a $7,500 Home Repair grant to install a walk-in shower, elevated toilet and a water filtration system.
USDA Rural Development supported over 100 New Hampshire families like the Hansen’s last year through its Home Repair Grant and Loan Program. The program offers 20 year, one percent interest rate, loans to very low income households and grants to eligible seniors to perform essential home repairs and renovations. The goal of the program is to maintain the safety and affordability of homes for Granit State residents. Interested applicants should call the USDA Rural Development Concord Office at (603) 223-6035 or visit the program website http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/nh.
Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote life with independence for people with disabilities and those experiencing the natural process of aging through home care offerings, employment programs and community services, such as advocacy, information, education, support and transition services. For more information on GSIL, its programs and supports, visit www.gsil.org or call 603-228-9680.
USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of $214 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the New Hampshire Rural Development website (www.rd.usda.gov/nh) or contact USDA RD at (602) 223-6035.