Home help to stop | TheUnion.com

Home help to stop

Eileen JoyceAlberta and Ray Glissman talk about the assistance they have received from FREED. The group donated a walker to the couple and added safety handles in their bathroom.
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A program to adapt homes for disabled people may end June 30.

Foundation of Resources for Equality and Employment for the Disabled’s fix-it program won’t be funded, the Sacramento-based Area 4 Agency on Aging staff decided last month.

The 17-member governing board agreed with the decision Jan. 4, said agency Executive Director Deanna Lea.

Home repair is not a priority this year, she said. Providing transportation, legal and health services to seniors is. The home repair program served 109 people in Nevada County last year.

“That not to say that FREED isn’t doing a terrific job and that the fix-it program isn’t wonderful,” Lea said. But federal funding for such programs didn’t come through this year, she said.

“It’s an excellent program, and we hope to be able to fund it (later),” Lea said.

The fix-it program has helped seniors who need adaptations like ramps and shower grab bars since 1992, FREED Executive Director Ann Guerra said. She said the fix-it program is critical to keeping seniors in their homes in an area with expensive housing.

“To me, it’s surprising,” Guerra said. “They’ve had a whole lot of time to say, ‘It looks like the home repair isn’t needed.'”

The organization keeps a list of handypersons who give discounts to seniors needing to adapt homes to their disabilities, Guerra said. In addition to the 109 people who received 1,432 hours of work, between 250 to 300 used the referral service to contractors who install ramps and do minor plumbing and electrical repairs, Guerra said.

Ray Glissman, a resident of Mountain Air Mobile Home Park off Highway 49, said FREED sent a handyman to install grab bars and fix his shower head.

“I could have done it, but in my physical condition I can’t get in and out of the tub that easy to work with it,” Glissman said. “If I had to pay for it, it wouldn’t have been done. If I could go around the world for 10 cents, I couldn’t get out of Grass Valley.”

The agency is governed by a 35-member advisory council and 17-member board serving Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties. Placer County also lost the funding for its fix-it program, Lea said.

A public hearing on funding was held April 26 in Nevada City. Guerra said she felt the one public hearing on funding this home program and others was not well-advertised.

The $43,000 will stay in Nevada County, but will go to the Telecare senior and disabled transportation program, the Nevada County Health Department, Legal Services of Northern California and HelpLine Information and Assistance.

On June 30, the fix-it program ends, Guerra said.

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