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My parents are in their mid 70's. Retired, living on SS benefits as their sole source of income. They have no savings and are living in my childhood home, which luckily has been paid off for many years. The problem is two fold: 1) The home is in a terrible end of town, where I constantly worry for their safety 2) the house is old and literally falling down around them! Plaster just fell from the ceiling a week ago! Add in my mom just got home from 108 day stay in the hospital with Covid (most of which was in a coma on a ventilator) - so she's trying to get rehabiliated from the house is not safe and the only bathroom is on the second floor. I would like them to move - but they can't afford it. Are there any grant programs or assistance to at least help with repairs? I wish I could simply give them the $$ but I'm not in a position to do that financially.

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They can afford to move. They will have to sell their house. My MIL lives in an elderly apartment building that is government subsidized. She pays what they determine she can afford. She only gets SS and has a small amount in the bank. She pays under $300/month for her 1 bedroom apartment.

Even if you had some money, I would suggest that you should not pay to upgrade their home or pay for anything that they should be paying for.

I would not do anything to help keep them in their current situation but put whatever energy you are willing to expend into getting them moved in to a safer environment.

Sorry your mom is in rough shape after her covid battle. How's dad doing? Can he put some energy into looking into elderly housing? Getting the house ready to sell? If no one has the time and/or energy, it can always be sold "as is" and they will get much less for it but without having to go through all the expense and stress of fixing it up.
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Reply to againx100
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I am so very sorry that you and your parents are suffering with these issues. I would be concerned for them too.

Houses are not maintenance free! Upkeep costs money and renovations are super costly. People that are on a fixed income struggle to keep afloat, let alone do repairs.

Your parents can sell the property ‘as is’ and the buyer can renovate or tear down.

Your mom and dad can move into a senior apartment, with pay scaled according to income. My brother lived in an apartment building for seniors. He was satisfied.

Best wishes to your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Have you considered a go-fund-me page. People seem to do well using this. So sorry for this difficult situation but many here have offered good advice.
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Reply to KathleenQ
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You can start by calling around your local social service agencies and County Office on Aging. I know Habitat for Humanity in my area will help with small household repairs for free for seniors in my area, but small repairs won’t solve the longer term issue. Let me share my cautionary tale: In looking for the same type of assistance for my mother, who refused to move from her home, there was only assistance for smaller repairs. She needed to have major repairs done. Fast forward years later, she ended up selling the house at a loss, and that was only doable because her property had value. And she got herself into a big financial mess by taking out some crazy line of credit against advice.

Your parents should begin to apply for subsidized senior housing. Rent will be determined based on their income. There can be long waiting lists. The house will only continue to crumble and continue to lose value. And your parents will only continue to age and be able to do less and less. My mother was starting with dementia a long time ago that I recognized, but no one else around her seemed to notice. This only added to the insanity. I know this is your childhood home and you want to help your parents, but this could end up being a great financial burden if your family decides to take out a loan based on emotion or nostalgia. You could all be underwater and lose money on the home. I would sell the home as is.

I have not heard of any grants that can help with major repairs. But I hope you can find some help. I do know there are some community groups in my area that will build ramps and replace stairs. But as I said, that is a short term solution. I am sorry that you are going through this - you sound like a wonderful child! I wish you luck.
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JanisLW May 10, 2021
The 2 you mentioned are great places to get help
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I wonder how much is 'can't afford to move' & how much is 'don't want to move'?

I would ask your folks about their main housing priorities for this stage of their life.

Is it to stay in the family house? I'm sure they like the famiarity. But do they wish to stay despite being unable to keep it in repair?

Or is it to stay in their familiar area? Maybe an apartment would be a more affordable choice?

Or maybe being in a safe area, close to you or other family is acceptable?

If you can't afford the roof over your head, what's the first common sense thing you think of to do?
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Reply to Beatty
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1.   Are either of your parents Veterans?  If so, there might be funds available for emergency repairs.   If either is a Vet, and are already accepted for treatment, ontact the social worker for your VA team.  If neither are registered, contact (a) closest VA hospital or (b) local (county) VA office, or (c) state VA facilities to find out how to register.

2.   Contact your local city or township to find out if either has (a) a low or no interest home improvement entity to help with emergency repairs.   Ours does; the last time I investigated, no interest was charged on the loan, which was paid off only when the home was sold.

You wouldn't get your choice of contractors, and from my limited experience, the one I saw wasn't qualified to be a contractor in the first place.   But that could be a unique experience.

3.   My city also got HUD grants, typically at the beginning of the fiscal year, for emergency repairs for residents in need.

4.    Contact local Methodist churches, some of which have volunteer programs like Habitat for Humanity offers.   Volunteers work free (as far as I know) to help repair and/or fix up homes in need of assistance.  

5.   Although I'm hesitant to recommend this b/c of the publicity, but sometimes local tv stations will feature a family in need in a home in need of repairs, and contractors will volunteer to contribute labor and materials.

I don't know if this exists, but I think it would be an excellent training opportunity as well as one for those in need:    building trade students who work on homes as part of their academic training.    I wish I could find one like that.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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I would contact your area's Agency on Aging. They have lists of resources that might help either financially or could provide services to help on needed fixes to your parents' house. What about Habitat for Humanity? Or if either of your parents was a Veteran, there might also be groups who might aid on house fixing.

What concerns me is that if your parents' house is not in a desirable neighborhood, they may not be getting much in sale of the house and the monies from the sale may not be of lasting help.
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Reply to ThisIsIt
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I'd be worried sick if my folks were living alone in a falling down house in a terrible part of town--this is just asking for far more drama that they can handle.

IF you want PERSONAL advice, mostly it will be of the 'sell and move to a smaller place in a better neighborhood.' The nightmare of fixing up is one that mom shouldn't have going on around her as she continues to heal. Just the dust kicked up by minor construction can be very bad for her.

I'm just now really facing the fact that my DH and I need to move BEFORE we get to the situation your folks are in. In the last few weeks, as I attempted to get my yard and gardens put in, it hit me that there is zero joy in this work that used to give me so much pleasure. Now it's just a worry. I don't WANT to leave the home where I raised my babies---but realistically, I can't take care of it and DH doesn't do fixer upper stuff.

The BIGGEST reason for moving, for me? STAIRS!!! All over the place and I honestly find myself throwing a basket of laundry over the railing to the basement b/c I am simply not strong enough anymore to haul the hampers down to the laundry. Your mom is on the 2nd floor and the bathroom isn't on the same floor? That's a recipe for a fall.

While it's true the housing market is red hot in many areas, it may not be in yours--but that doesn't mean the house wouldn't sell--sure would be a load off your mind to have mom and dad in a safe, one level apartment or condo.

If you decide to sell, talk to a realtor and see what you should and shouldn't need to 'fix' before selling. I talked to mine yesterday and was surprised that he said to do no repairs but a couple of very minor ones. Frankly, I think a quicker 'as is' sell would be your best bet.

Just DON'T jump in to massive repairs--you likely won't recoup the money.

Good Luck!
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JanisLW May 11, 2021
When you mentioned your garden I wanted to cry. I had a wonderful garden that I planted every year for 30 years. I loved it. But after finding out I had to move, all the joy went out the door. It was hard work and I would not be around to enjoy it, so I stopped planting. I miss it so much
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Of course, things vary in different commuities, but check with the Salvation Army. My cousin (aged 68) got a loan to fix her foundation, siding, insulation, and furnace. The loan is federally backed and there is no repayment until she dies or the house is sold. The interest is ultra-low and will not eat up all her equity so her children will inherit something.
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LittleOrchid May 10, 2021
I forgot, they also put on a new roof and did repairs to her plumbing. At any rate, they took a house that was basically a tear-down and renovated it into a house that should be good as long as she lives.
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Imho, start with their town's Council on Aging, who should have in place many programs for the aged. My late mother's was on a poverty wage of $1,223/month. She was eligible for many rebates and programs through her town's COA, e.g. historic home, tax pro, deferred real estate tax and many more.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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JanisLW May 10, 2021
they just have to look. There are so many places that can help. If she truly has no money, there is help for her. J got it.
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