AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - RHODE ISLAND LIVABLE HOME MODIFICATION ACT
Establishes the Rhode Island Livable Home Modification Grant allowing individuals to retrofit their residence to nationally recognized accessibility standards and receive fifty percent (50%) of the total sum spent, up to five thousand dollars ($5,000).
2018-03-01: Introduced, referred to Senate Housing and Municipal Government
2018-04-20: Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (04/25/2018)
2018-04-25: Committee recommended measure be held for further study
2018-05-18: Scheduled for consideration (05/22/2018)
2018-05-22: Committee recommends passage of Sub A
2018-05-23: Placed on Senate Calendar (05/29/2018)
2018-05-29: Senate passed Sub A as amended (floor amendment)
2018-05-31: Referred to House Municipal Government
Changes since original draft
2018 – S 2554
S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2018
A N A C T
RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - RHODE ISLAND LIVABLE
HOME MODIFICATION ACT
Introduced By: Senators Felag, Conley, Gallo, McCaffrey, and Goodwin
Date Introduced: March 01, 2018
Referred To: Senate Housing & Municipal Government
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Title 42 of the General Laws entitled "STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:
RHODE ISLAND LIVABLE HOME MODIFICATION ACT
42-51.1-1. Short title.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Rhode Island Livable Home Modification Act."
(a) People with disabilities, who remain active in their community do not utilize health care services as they would in assisted living, nursing homes or other institutions.
(b) One of the keys for an individual with a disability to remain in their community, is the ability to get into and out of their residence and navigate safely within their residence, with or without assistance.
(c) Renovating a residence by removing barriers allows an individual with disabilities to remain safely and independently within their residence, and out of long-term care facilities. It also may reduce falls and other related emergency room, hospital and/or rehabilitation expenses.
(d) The Rhode Island livable home modification grant helps eligible individuals to remain in their residence by offsetting the cost of accessibility modifications.
(e) The Rhode Island livable home modification grants assists homeowner and renters with retrofitting residences to nationally recognized accessibility standards.
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Accessibility features" means and includes the following:
(i) Accessible route to a zero-step entrance on firm surface that is no steeper than 1:12 from a driveway or public sidewalk;
(ii) Zero-step entrance;
(iii) Doors with at least thirty-two inches (32") of clear width;
(iv) Hallways and passages with at least thirty-six inches (36") of clear width;
(v) Accessible light switches, electrical outlets and environmental controls;
(vi) Accessible bathroom;
(vii) Accessible and useable kitchen facilities;
(viii) Retrofitting of an existing unit shall include permanently installed lifts or elevators;
(ix) Purchase and permanent installation of a backup electric generator for life sustaining electric-powered medical equipment in their homes for devices such as respirators, oxygen concentrators, and/or dialysis machines;
(x) Installation of a permanent home monitoring system for residents with Alzheimer's disease and/or other forms of dementia; and
(xi) All accessibility features shall meet the specifications of an existing standard.
(2) "Commission" means the governor's commission on disabilities as established in § 42-51-1.
(3) "Disability" as defined in §§ 42-87-1(i) and 42-87-1(v) ("definitions of disability").
(4) "Eligible resident" includes a resident who has a disability or the caregiver who owns or rents the residency that the resident who has a disability will reside.
(5) "Existing standards" means and includes adaptability features prescribed by the Rhode Island state building code, the specifications of the American National Standards Institute, the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (24 C.F.R. Part 40), or Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines (24 C.F.R. chapter 100).
(6) "Post-retrofit documentation" means evidence that the project has been completed, which includes, but is not limited to, before and after pictures of the area that is retrofitted; copies of purchase contracts; invoices; cancelled checks; construction contract; and the like.
(7) "Resident who has a disability" means an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual.
(8) "Sensory modification" means alarms, appliances and controls designed to assist sensory disabled individuals that are structurally integrated into the residential unit, thereby becoming a permanent part of the structure to the residential unit, excluding therefrom appliances or alarms that can be removed and/or reinstalled, and thus reused, in another residence.
42-51.1-4. Livable home modification grants.
(a) Any eligible resident, who retrofits or hires an individual to retrofit an existing residence, provided that such retrofitting meets the qualification criteria as established in § 42- 51.1-5, and meets the eligibility requirements established by guidelines developed by the commission, shall be eligible for a livable home modification grant of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount spent, not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000). The grant shall be allowed for the state fiscal year in which the retrofitting or renovation of the residence structure or unit has been completed.
(b) The grant required by this chapter shall require application by the resident who has a disability, caregiver or guardian as provided in § 42-51.1-6.
42-51.1-5. Qualifications for a grant.
(a) In order to qualify for a grant under this chapter, retrofitting of an existing residential unit must include at least one accessibility feature as defined in § 42-51.1-3(1) and meet the requirements of an existing standard as defined in § 42-51.1-3(5) or provide sensory modifications as defined in § 42-51.1-3(8).
(b) The eligible resident's income in the prior year must not be greater than one hundred twenty percent (120%) of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's Area Median Income for Rhode Island. For purposes of this section, only the resident who has the disability or the caregiver's earnings, not the household income, determines qualification for a grant.
(c) If the eligible resident who has the disability was not required to file a federal tax return in the prior year, the resident is automatically eligible for a livable home modification grant, so long as they are not eligible for accessibility modifications funded through other local, state or federal programs.
(a) Eligible residents shall apply for the grant by making application to the commission, which shall issue a certification for an approved application to the resident who has a disability, caregiver, or guardian.
(b) The commission shall issue application guidelines regarding:
(1) Assessment of the resident who has the disability's need for the livable home modifications; and
(2) Proof of the eligible resident's income and documentation of any disability related exemptions.
(c) All applications must be submitted and received by the commission prior to the start of retrofitting activities to an existing residence.
(d) All retrofit projects must be completed prior to the end of the state's fiscal year, June 30 and post-retrofit documentation must be submitted and received by the commission no later than July 10 of the same calendar year.
(a) Grants shall be allowed under this chapter for the retrofitting or renovation of residential rental property provided that the owner agreed to maintain access for ten (10) years.
(b) Excluded from the grants are individuals and entities that are:
(1) Eligible for the federal disabled access credit established under § 44 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 44) or state disabled access tax credit for small business established under § 44-54-1;
(2) Limited liability companies or foreign limited liability companies, as defined in § 7- 16-2;
(3) S Corporations established under Subchapter S of Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. §§ 1361 et seq.);
(4) Cooperative housing corporations, as defined in § 7-6.1-4; or
(5) Corporations or foreign corporations, as defined in § 7-1.2-106.
(c) Accessibility modifications that are eligible to be funded through local, state or federal programs are not eligible for grants.
(d) No credit shall be allowed under this chapter for the purchase or construction of residential rental property.
(e) In no case shall the commission issue any grant relating to transactions or dealings between affiliated entities.
(f) In no case shall the commission issue any grant more than once to the same or different individuals relating to the same retrofitting, renovation or construction project.
42-51.1-8. Filing a claim for reimbursement.
Applicants shall submit to the commission post retrofit documentation, as required by the commission, no later than July 10 of the calendar year in which their application is submitted and retrofitting completed.
By August 15 of each year, the commission shall submit an annual report to the governor, speaker of the house, senate president, and chairpersons of the house and senate finance committees for the period from July 1 to June 30 on the actual:
(1) Number of grants issued to qualifying individuals;
(2) Number of applications who did not qualify;
(3) Total dollar amount of grants issued;
(4) Average dollar amount of the grants issued;
(5) Number of retrofits by accessibility features; and
(6) Prognosis for the individual if the retrofit had not been made.
(i) Increased likelihood of falls and other related emergency room, hospital and/or rehabilitation expenses;
(ii) Loss of independence; and
(iii) Move into a long-term care facility.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
A N A C T
RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - RHODE ISLAND LIVABLE
HOME MODIFICATION ACT
This act would establish the Rhode Island Livable Home Modification Grant which allows eligible homeowners and renters to retrofit their residence to nationally recognized accessibility standards and receive fifty percent (50%) of the total sum spent, up to five thousand dollars ($5,000), to retrofit such existing residence. Such retrofitting of an existing residence will allow an individual with disabilities to remain safely and independently within their residence and out of long-term care facilities, while reducing falls and other related emergency room, hospital and/or rehabilitation expenses.
This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC004810 ========
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