Seniors keep homes with assist from SARFS

Senior citizens in Auburn Gresham, Englewood and West Chatham who need minor home repairs should check out the city's Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) program, as their neighbors have done since 2003.

HRail door

The program supports improvements such as new security doors.

Sponsored by the City of Chicago Department of Housing, the SARFS program provides safety, security and accessibility improvements that help seniors to remain in their homes. 

"I can't begin to explain how helpful all the new railings and grab bars for the bathroom were," said program beneficiary Geri Richardson. "The SARFS program is simply amazing. Thank you, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corp., for all of your assistance."

The program serves seniors who earn no more than 80 percent of the medium income—adjusted for family size (see chart at the end of this article) —and who are at least 60 years of age.

Hand rail

Hand rails in the bathroom improve safety.

They may be either homeowners or renters living in a 1-4 unit building. Renters must have permission from their landlord, and landlords must certify that there will be no rent increase as a direct result of SARFS improvements.

A project manager from the Greater Auburn Gresham Community Development Corp. — the area's delegate agency for the program — assists seniors through the application process, making on-site assessments to determine service needs, and providing limited home improvements at no cost to the applicant.

Repair types are limited to minor repairs that may include, but are not limited to, grab bars, handrails, window or door repair, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Approval for repairs to floors and windows are at the dicretion of the City of Chicago.

GADC has been a delegate agent for the Department of Housing's SARFS Program since 2003 and will have had almost 350+ senior homes repaired, safe and secure by the end of 2015.

Currently there are approximately 200 seniors on the SARFS waiting list in Auburn-Gresham, Englewood and West Chatham. The chart below notes the income limit by family size: 

Income Limits
Family Size     80% Median Income* 
         1                             $36,750
         2                             $42,000
         3                             $47,250
         4                             $52,500
         5                             $56,700
         6                             $60,900
         7                             $65,100 
         8 or more               $69,300
 *Income limits are based on a median family income of $67,900 for Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area.