Are you living in a home that you dearly love but have developed new physical needs that your home does not meet? Or are you looking to move and have found the perfect home, but it needs an “accessibility upgrade” to meet your existing or future health requirements?
The right home adaptation can transform that home into a place where you can live, relax and play for years and even decades to come. An accessible home is one that has either been designed or adapted to enable independent living for individuals with disabilities/health issues, or modified proactively to accommodate aging in place.
Naturally, different people have different accessibility needs, which is why when the need for a home adaptation arises, the work typically involves custom modifications. Unfortunately, it can be an expensive endeavour. Fortunately, the BC government understands the value of keeping people comfortable in their own homes versus the costs of building additional long-term care facilities, and has developed a number of funding resources to help offset a portion of the costs involved.
One of these resources is the BC home renovation tax credit for seniors and persons with disabilities, which we recently covered in our “How to qualify for a home renovation tax credit” blog on our website. Another excellent funding resource is the BC Housing Rebate for Accessible Home Adaptations (BC RAHA). This program is available to BC residents with limited income and assets (identified as low- and moderate-income households with a total before-tax household income below $128,810). Successful applicants can receive up to $20,000 in rebates for qualifying adaptations made.
The BC RAHA program isn’t just available to homeowners; landlords and tenants living in rental properties can also apply as long as the tenant has a disability or permanent loss of physical ability and all other requirements are met.
Eligible properties covered under the BC RAHA program include the following:
- A single-household house
- Legal basement suite
- A row home or townhouse
- Co-operative housing, if not subsidized by any level of government
- An individual unit in a strata corporation (condo) property
- An individual unit in a multiple-unit rental building
- More than one unit in a multiple-unit rental building up to a maximum of five units per year
There is a wide range of property adaptations eligible, with the basic qualifying metric being that the adaptations should directly facilitate the accessibility of the homeowner, tenant or household member. These adaptations include the following:
- Access areas outside of the dwelling such as the widening of walkways or installation of ramps/elevating devices
- Rework of existing electrical, HVAC and plumbing
- Modifications to the kitchen, bathroom and other rooms that enable greater accessibility
How much are you covered for? Visit the BC Housing’s Rebate Schedule to learn the maximum rebate offered for the adaptation made. Depending on the nature of your rebate application, some adaptations will need a completed assessment from either an Occupational Therapist (OT) or a Physical Therapist (PT). Should that need arise and you don’t have an OT or PT, read BC Housing’s Tips for Finding an Occupational or Physical Therapist two-pager.
For your convenience
Many of the items covered by the program are offered by Kootenay Columbia Home Medical including stair lift/elevating devices, grab bars and guide rails, low-barrier bathtubs or showers, raised toilets and more. Contact us now to arrange a call with one of our home medical equipment specialists. We have also compiled a Guide to Getting Care and Support in the Kootenays which you can request on our website at your convenience.