October 7, 2021 - The City of Ann Arbor is seeking income-qualified adults, ages 60 years and older, to participate in a new Aging in Place Efficiently pilot program. This program, which is part of the city's A2ZERO Climate Plan, focuses on helping up to 20 qualified homeowners by making energy-efficiency improvements that increase home comfort and reduce utility bills, as well as making aging-in-place improvements that increase home safety.
The pilot Aging in Place Efficiently program starts with a prescreen, ensuring that a candidate meets the eligibility qualifications. This is followed by a home visit with a social worker who conducts a preliminary assessment of opportunities and needs. If a homeowner is selected to move forward after this initial assessment, an energy audit and an occupational therapy assessment are conducted to identify the critical energy and aging-in-place needs within and immediately surrounding the home. At this point, the homeowner also shares their priority concerns and hopes for the home — which are critical elements to ensuring the recommended services improve quality of life for the homeowner.
“Together, we build a job scope for each home that works to ensure project dollars are put to the very best use for our residents," says Dr. Missy Stults, manager of the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations. “Our goal is increased home comfort and safety, resulting in more years spent in the home, reduced climate pollution, and a higher quality of life for our residents."
The program also builds equity in the homes of those who may have been underserved in the past, and it presents a significant cost benefit to residents if transitions to nursing care can be delayed or offset altogether.
“We are really excited about this pilot program and its ability to help lower-income seniors stay in their homes, and have better health outcomes, for longer," said John Fournier, acting city administrator.
The Aging in Place Efficiently initiative is a pilot, but the city hopes to make it a permanent program, growing it over time to include renters and any eligible Washtenaw County resident. Plans for expansion of the program depend on future funding opportunities. Partners helping to support the pilot program include: Michigan Saves; University of Michigan Hospital – Meals on Wheels and Housing Bureau for Seniors; Washtenaw County Office for Economic Development; Huron Valley Habitat for Humanity; and the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.
“We are thankful for the funders and community partners, plus the program participants, who are helping us build Aging in Place Efficiently from the ground up," says Stults. “And special thanks to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and the Partners for Places program for financially supporting this critical and timely work."
So far, the pilot has initiated work with six homeowners. “I am so excited about what all is going to be done [in my home]. Oh my goodness. I am just totally over the moon. I appreciate all the work and thank everybody that is involved," shares Janet, a current participant in Aging in Place Efficiently. “The best thing I can say is, 'I am so happy!'" says Diana, another Aging in Place Efficiently participant. “The Aging in Place initiative is a blessing in disguise for seniors like me that need major work done in their homes. The program has great partners that work between them and the participants to help define problems in and around the home that need attention. Everyone involved with this program was kind, understanding, and professional."
Those interested in learning more about the program or completing the prescreening can visit www.a2gov.org/aip or call 734.794.6000, ext. 43738. Note that qualified participants must live in and own their single-family home within the city of Ann Arbor, meet the income and assets qualifiers, and be at least 60 years of age.
The Aging in Place Efficiently program is part of Ann Arbor's A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan, which charts a pathway for achieving a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by the year 2030. A2ZERO was unanimously adopted by City Council in June 2020. To learn more about the city's carbon neutrality work, visit www.a2gov.org/sustainability.
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