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Home repair program OKed for low-income seniors


The City Council unanimously approved Councilwoman Sue Kempf’s recommendation to appropriate $100,000 to fund a home repair program for qualified low-income seniors.

No public or council discussion was required at the February 25 meeting to approve the recommendation, which also directed the Senior Housing Task Force to work with Laguna Beach Seniors, Inc. on program guidelines. 

“Don’t talk yourself out of an approval,” Mayor Pro Tem Steven Dicterow advised potential speakers on behalf of the program, who immediately and wisely returned to their seats.

The city-sponsored program provides financial assistance to income-qualifying, over 60 seniors to make critical home repairs or have health and safety issues, allowing them to age in place – in other words not be forced to leave their homes due to the inability to make needed repairs or changes.

Improvements could include repairs of structural components; plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems; doors and door locks; accessible pathways; mold remediation; weatherization and other improvements that meet the intent of the program. 

It is the intended that Laguna Beach Seniors, Inc. administer and manage the program in coordination with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. Both organizations sent letters to the council supporting the program.

Program details must still be worked out, but one idea is to have Laguna Beach Seniors identify elderly property owners who need home repairs – from leaky roofs to access ramps and grab bars to prevent accidents.

The organization could accept and review applications. Approval would be subject to eligibility requirements. Assessments would be forwarded to Habitat for Humanity OC to process.

The next step might be a visit by a construction manager who would conduct a building inspection based on the assessment, followed by submission of a preliminary work order to the Seniors’ organization for review and approval. If approved, a contract would be finalized between the Seniors and Habitat for Humanity OC.

Funds would be issued to Habitat for Humanity OC for the preparation of building plans, obtaining building permits, and construction.

City funding will make it happen, according to Seniors Executive Director Nadia Babayi and Habitat Senior Vice President Chris Baiocchi.


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