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Home Adaptations For Independence (HAFI)

The HAFI program provides financial assistance for home renovations/modifications that help eligible low-income British Columbians with mobility or health issues continue to live in their home.

About the program

Home Adaptations for Independence is a grant program for people with diminished physical abilities. It helps low-income households pay for modifications to their home. If you qualify, you could receive up to $20,000 in financial assistance. We review applications on a first-come, first-served basis until the the government funding for the year is gone.

Many past recipients have been older adults and seniors, but the funding is available to help people of any age, including families with children.

General criteria

To be eligible, you must be a British Columbia resident with limited income and assets. You or someone in your household must have a permanent disability or loss of ability. The adaptations you request should directly address the limitations or loss of ability.

BC Housing compares applications against three types of eligibility criteria: applicants, properties and adaptations.

Tip: Use the Program Finder to see if you are eligible. Or, you can read through the sections below.

Homeowners

You may be eligible for Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) assistance if you meet ALL of the following requirements:

  1. The requested adaptations are eligible
  2. You are a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and permanently reside in British Columbia.
  3. You or a member of your household has a permanent disability or diminished ability.
  4. The home for adaptation is your primary residence.
  5. Your household assets are less than $100,000. These include: your cash or bank balance, stocks, bonds, term deposits, mutual funds, business equity, land, real estate or property holdings. These exclude: RRSPs, RESPs, RDSPs, RRIFs, vehicles and the home that you live in, if you own it.
  6. Your household income is within the Housing Income Limit for your area (which also takes into account household composition).
  7. Your home’s BC Assessment value is below the Home Value Limit (average assessed value of homes for your assessment area.)

*BC Housing may ask that a qualified person verify the permanent disability or diminished ability and confirm that the adaptations requested are needed to ensure the resident can continue to live in the home. Qualified people may include a doctor, nurse, home care worker, social worker, or occupational therapist.

The following housing is ineligible for HAFI:

  • Housing owned or subsidized by government at any level, or units that are part of a development which receives or has received government housing assistance. However, units occupied by households receiving assistance through the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance programs, may be eligible.
  • Applications on behalf of strata corporations.
  • Hotels, motels, lodges and bed and breakfasts.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes and residential care facilities.
  • Student housing, including dormitories.
  • Company housing provided to employees.
  • Religious institutions or associated residences, rectories and convents.
  • Recreational/seasonal properties or vehicles.
  • Dwellings On-Reserve.
  • Properties under construction.
  • Properties where foreclosure proceedings have commenced

Next Step: Complete the application

  1. Obtain an application form
  2. Complete the application form
    1. On the Application for Homeowners form, use the Required Documents checklist as a guide to collect your copies of the supporting documents.
    2. In the Homeowner Information section, identify yourself and your property.
    3. In the Income section, list and add up your total household income to confirm it is less than the Housing Income Limit.
    4. In the Assets section, list and add up your assets to confirm that you and your family members own less than $100,000 in financial assets.
    5. In About the Person(s) Needing Home Adaptations section, clearly describe how home adaptation will help someone in your household. Ask that person to carefully read the Confirmation and sign the bottom of the page.
    6. In the Applicant’s Preferred Contractor(s) section, clearly describe each modification, how it will help, and the name of the contractor you want to do that particular modification. Only name one contractor per modification. Do not list alternative contractors on this page.
      Note: If you are doing the work yourself, write, “Self.”
    7. On the Declaration by Homeowner page, carefully read the declaration and then write your name, sign it and add the date. If the property has additional owners, they must also sign the Declaration.
    8. Collect your supporting documents, including the work estimates, and attach them to the application form.
    9. Check your application before you submit it. The most common cause of processing delays is incomplete applications or missing documentation. To help us process your application more quickly use this checklist:
      • Have you completed all the information on all six pages of the application form?
      • Have you, the person needing home adaptations, and your partner owners carefully read, signed and dated the appropriate declarations?
      • Have you included all the supporting documents, including the work estimates, with the application form?
  3. Collect supporting documents and make copies
    • Proof of ownership — your most recent Property Assessment Notice from BC Assessment, or a land title search showing the legal address of the property.
    • Proof of income — your most recent Notice of Assessment (income tax return) from Canada Revenue Agency for every member of your household aged 16 years or older. If you don’t have an income tax return, you can use:
    • Proof of assets — bank statements, investment statements or letters from your financial institution describing the value of all assets for every member of your household aged 16 years or older.
    • Proof of address — your most recent utility bills, a driver’s license or other proof that you live at the address that you are applying to modify.
    • Proof of disability or diminished ability (only upon request) — a letter or other document from a doctor, nurse, home care worker, social worker or occupational therapist confirming that you or someone in your household requires adaptations so you can continue to live in your home.
    • Proof of agreement (strata owners only) — a letter or other document from your strata corporation confirming that:
      • The strata has reviewed and approved of your proposed modifications.
      • The modifications are solely your responsibility.
      • The modifications are not connected to a special levy or underlying deficiency.
      • Written work estimates — one or more itemized estimates that you collected from contractors, suppliers or other tradespeople. See Get estimates for details. Make and submit copies of the originals. You will submit these unaltered copies with the application, not the originals.
  4. Submit the application package in one of three ways:
    • In person: bring your application package to a BC Housing office
    • By mail: Home Adaptations for Independence Program, BC Housing, 101-4555 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4V8
    • By fax: 604-439-8550

You are responsible for:

  • Submitting work estimates.
  • Organizing and coordinating the work.
  • Making sure the work is completed in accordance with applicable legislation, by-laws and codes.

 

When choosing someone to complete the work, consider someone you feel will give you the best overall value. In addition to a fair price, it is important to consider the individual’s experience, technical expertise, customer service and reputation:

  • Ask friends, family, or neighbours for recommendations.
  • Consider several contractors before choosing one.
  • Ask for references from past customers.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection BC for any complaints against the contractor.
  • Consider their experience and what area of work they are licensed to undertake.
  • Get a firm commitment for the completion date.
  • Ensure they have adequate liability insurance and worker compensation coverage (WorkSafe BC).
  • Ensure they can identify any necessary permits and legal requirements.

 

For help with your application:Call 604-433-2218 or toll-free 1-800-257-7756

We will contact you within four weeks of receiving your application. If your application is successful, BC Housing will confirm the approved adaptations, the maximum value of your grant or loan, and the terms and conditions of your participation in the program. At this point we will also give approval for you to begin work.

You will have 90 days to complete the work from the date of approval. If you do not complete the work by that time and we do not hear from you, your assistance may be cancelled. Funds are limited and we have an obligation to reimburse work completed within the expected time frames.

Common reasons for not approving or cancelling an application include:

  • Not all of the eligibility criteria were satisfied
  • The application is incomplete
  • The application has lapsed
  • Funding is no longer available

 

Approved assistance will be either a grant or a forgivable loan. You may be required to repay the assistance if you do not abide by the agreed terms and conditions of the approval.

Assistance will be paid upon receipt of all of your original invoices or receipts and a signed Declaration of Work Completed which will outline the terms and conditions of your assistance. BC Housing is under no obligation to provide funds for work beyond that approved in writing by BC Housing.

If the work is not complete but the contractor has requested partial payment, you will need to submit your request for payment and an invoice for the work completed so far. During the course of the work, we will make up to three payments if requested, including the final payment. Any costs beyond the amount approved in writing must be paid in full before BC Housing will advance any assistance.


Declaration of Work Completed form

We generally process payment within two weeks of having received proper and complete invoices and Declaration of Work Completed   forms.

  • BC Housing will pay you after the work is finished.
  • Once your application has been approved,
    • You and your contractors have 90 days to complete the work.
    • When it’s done, BC Housing staff will require:
      • copies of your receipts if you do the work yourself
      • invoices from your contractor, if applicable and
      • Declaration of Work Completed form
    • Then we’ll write you a cheque for the total amount, including taxes. The exact amount of how much you receive will depend on the cost of labour and materials after tax.
  • BC Housing staff will cancel the approval if you don’t complete the work in 90 days and don’t contact us to explain the situation and request an extension.
  • In some cases, your contractor may ask for partial payment before the work is done. If so, give us the contractor’s invoice for the work done so far and submit a request for payment. Our staff can provide up to three payments (including the final payment).
  • You are responsible for the cost of any work that exceeds the terms of the grant or forgivable loan pre-approved by BC Housing staff.
  • Homeowners are required to continue to own and occupy the home for up to three years, depending on the amount of assistance.
  • Inspections may be carried out by BC Housing or its representatives:
    • Prior to approval — to ensure the scope of work is appropriate and reasonable.
    • During construction – to confirm work is being completed as expected.
    • Following the completion of work — to ensure that the approved adaptations have been completed and are functioning as intended.

Loan terms and conditions

Don’t forget that the Home Adaptations for Independence grant is actually a forgivable loan. To avoid repaying the loan, obey the grant’s terms and conditions:

  • If you are a homeowner, you must continue to live in your home for a specified period of time.
  • If you are landlord, you must not raise your tenant’s rent beyond the Residential Tenancy Act amount for the duration of the repayment period.
  • If your tenant moves out, you will need to rent the unit to a person with similar needs.
  • See Funding Amount for more information on forgivable loans.

Tip: You may be eligible for other types of assistance. Try our Program Finder to see what you might be eligible for.

  1. Who will be assisted by the HAFI program?
    Home Adaptations for Independence will provide financial assistance to low-income seniors and low-income persons with disabilities to support accessibility modifications that will promote continued safe and independent living. The assistance is available to eligible homeowners and tenants.
  2. What kind of modifications/adaptations will be covered by this program?

    The adaptations should be items that directly address the household’s disability or diminished abilities. These could include items such as handrails in hallways or stairways, ramps for ease of access, easy to reach work and storage areas in the kitchen, lever handles on doors, walk-in showers with grab bars, or bath-tub grab bars and seats.

    All adaptations should be permanent and fixed to the home. Exceptions can be made for equipment designed to give access to existing basic facilities, such as bath lifts. Supportive care, portable aids such as walkers, and household appliances, are not eligible. Emergency repairs or maintenance are not eligible. Review list of adaptations.

  3. How much money will applicants be able to apply for?

    Financial assistance up to $20,000 per home (including tax) is available. The exact amount is based on the cost of materials and labour necessary for the required adaptations. The assistance is in the form of a grant or forgivable loan.

    For homeowners, where underlying deficiencies within the home require remediation before adaptations can be successfully completed, further funding assistance up to a maximum of $20,000 per dwelling may be considered. The homeowner will be required to obtain quotes and applicable permits, and an inspection by the Homeowner Protection Branch of BC Housing may be required. This assistance is not available for rental unit properties.

  4. Is the assistance repayable?
    The grant or loan does not need to be paid back as long as the recipient adheres to some simple requirements, such as continuing to occupy their home for up to three years, or limiting rent increases for tenants for up to five years.
  5. What if the costs for adaptations go beyond the original estimate submitted?
    The applicant will be responsible for costs of work that exceed the approved amount of assistance or that is not eligible.
  6. What are the forgivable periods for the assistance provided?
    • For grants up to $5,000, grant obligations will cease after one year
    • Loans greater than $5,000 will be forgiven over three years
    • Assistance greater than $40,000 may be in the form of a forgivable loan or mortgage and may be forgiven over 3 - 5 years
    • The assistance is not taxable.
  7. Does the program have limited funds?
    Yes. Because the program has limited funds, completed applications will be reviewed on a first come first served basis until the annual provincial funding allocation is exhausted. Applications may be made in each year, starting April, while funds last.
  8. What is the assessed value of homes in an area?
    The value of a home can be found on a Property Assessment Notice from BC Assessment. The home value must be below the average assessed value for the applicant’s assessment area.
  9. What is the rent limit for an applicant’s area?
    The rent must be below the median rent level for the applicant’s area.
  10. Will units that are owned or subsidized by government qualify for assistance?

    Housing owned or subsidized by government at any level, or units that are part of a development which receives or has received government housing assistance, will not qualify.

    However, units occupied by households receiving assistance through Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance Program may be eligible.

  11. Can only homeowners apply for a grant?
    In addition to homeowner applicants, landlords of affordable rental properties can apply on behalf of eligible tenants who need adaptations to live in the home. Tenants will be required to complete a portion of the Landlord’s application to show that they need the adaptations.
  12. Are strata properties eligible for assistance?
    Yes. The application must be from an individual homeowner in a strata. Strata corporations may not submit applications.
  13. Can a landlord of a multi-unit property include more than one unit within an application?
    Yes. You must complete a part II and III of the landlord application for each unit or common area needing adaptations.
  14. Are common areas eligible for assistance?
    Funding for common area adaptations may be issued in addition to funding for eligible units. For each eligible unit, up to $20,000 in additional assistance will be available for common area adaptations. Where there are more than two eligible units, assistance for common area adaptations will not exceed $40,000.
  15. Can HAFI representatives help applicants to find a qualified contractor?
    Applicants are responsible for choosing someone to complete the work and for making sure the work is completed in accordance with applicable legislation, by-laws and codes. They should choose a contractor they feel will give them the best overall value.
  16. If an application is rejected, can someone appeal?
    You will have 30 days from the date of a rejection to submit in writing your reasons for appeal. Only appeals with all supporting documents will be reviewed, regardless of the reasons for rejection. If you are a tenant, your landlord must submit the appeal.

Tenants

You may be eligible for Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) assistance if you meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • The requested adaptations are eligible
  • The unit for adaptation is a legal, self-contained unit with a full kitchen and bathroom in the unit.
  • The tenant is a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and permanently resides in British Columbia.
  • The tenant or a member of their household has a permanent disability or diminished ability
  • The tenant’s household assets are less than $100,000 as per BC Housing’s Asset Policy for tenants. These include: cash or bank balance, stocks, bonds, term deposits, mutual funds, business equity, land, real estate or property holdings (including a home if the tenant owns it). These exclude: RRSPs, RESPs, RDSPs and vehicles.
  • The tenant’s household income is within the Housing Income Limit for your area (which also takes into account household composition).

  • The tenant’s rent is below the median rent level for your area.

The following housing is ineligible for HAFI:

  • Housing owned or subsidized by government at any level, or units that are part of a development which receives or has received government housing assistance. However, units occupied by households receiving assistance through theShelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance programs, may be eligible.
  • Applications on behalf of strata corporations.
  • Hotels, motels, lodges and bed and breakfasts.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes and residential care facilities.
  • Student housing, including dormitories.
  • Company housing provided to employees.
  • Religious institutions or associated residences, rectories and convents.
  • Recreational/seasonal properties or vehicles.
  • Dwellings On-Reserve.
  • Properties under construction.
  • Properties where foreclosure proceedings have commenced.

Next Step: Complete the application

Note: You may still be eligible if you are receiving assistance through BC Housing’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters program.

  1. Obtain an application form
  2. Complete the application

    Your landlord should fill in the application, but you will need to complete Part III.

    1. On the Application for Landlords and Tenants form, use the Required Documents checklist as a guide to collect your copies of the supporting documents.
    2. In Part III: Tenant Information, write your name, address and phone number.
    3. In the Income section, list and add up your total household income to confirm it is less than the Housing Income Limit.
    4. In the Assets section, list and add up your assets to confirm that you own less than $100,000 in financial assets.
    5. In About the Person(s) Needing Home Adaptations section, clearly describe how home adaptation will help you or a family member who lives with you. At the bottom of the page, carefully read the declaration and then sign and date the document. If you live with someone, he or she must also sign.
    6. Give the application form to your landlord.

    Note: If you want, you can submit your income and assets information directly to BC Housing, not to your landlord. If you do, clearly write that your information is part of a tenant’s application.

  3. Collect supporting documents and make copies

    The application has three parts.

    • Part I will be completed by your landlord.
    • Part II provides details about the adaptations and how they will help address your disability or loss of ability. You may choose to work with your landlord to complete this section.
    • Part III is your information. You can complete this yourself or ask your landlord or someone else to assist you.

    You will need to provide the following documents with the application:

    • Proof of income — your most recent Notice of Assessment (income tax return) from Canada Revenue Agency for every member of your household aged 16 years or older or you can submit the following acceptable alternatives as proof:
      • If you receive income assistance from the Ministry of Social Development: a copy of a recent cheque stub or a letter from your Ministry contact confirming your monthly assistance.
      • If employed: proof of current gross monthly income (copies of last three consecutive cheque stubs or letter from employer).
      • Copies of cheque stubs, bank statements showing direct deposit of pensions, or other confirmation of income for any other income sources.
    • Proof of assets —you should submit copies of bank statements or letters from financial institution(s) stating total value of all assets for each household member.
  4. Submit the application package in one of three ways:
    • In person: bring your application package to a BC Housing office
    • By mail: Home Adaptations for Independence Program, BC Housing, 101-4555 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4V8
    • By fax: 604-439-8550

Considerations

  • Amount of assistance provided will be based on complete and eligible applications received on a first come first served basis while funds last.

  • Adaptations may affect your home warranty. If your home is less than 10 years old there may be a policy of home warranty insurance still in place. If so, please check with your warranty provider before making adaptations.

  • You are responsible for costs of work that exceeds the approved amount of assistance, or that is not eligible, or is beyond the scope of the program.

We will contact you within four weeks of receiving your application. If your application is successful, BC Housing will confirm the approved adaptations, the maximum value of your grant or loan, and the terms and conditions of your participation in the program. At this point we will also give approval for you to begin work.

You will have 90 days to complete the work from the date of approval. If you do not complete the work by that time and we do not hear from you, your assistance may be cancelled. Funds are limited and we have an obligation to reimburse work completed within the expected time frames.

Common reasons for not approving or cancelling an application include:

  • Not all of the eligibility criteria were satisfied
  • The application is incomplete
  • The application has lapsed
  • Funding is no longer available

Appeals: If your application is not approved and you wish to dispute the decision, you must submit in writing your reasons for appeal to the HAFI Appeals Committee within 30 days of the date of the rejection letter. You will need to submit an appeal with all supporting and required documents.

Home Adaptations for Independence Program 
BC Housing
Suite 101 – 4555 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC V5H 4V8
Fax: 604-439-8550

Approved assistance will be either a grant or a forgivable loan. You may be required to repay the assistance if you do not abide by the agreed terms and conditions of the approval.

Assistance will be paid upon receipt of all of your original invoices or receipts and a signed Declaration of Work Completed which will outline the terms and conditions of your assistance. BC Housing is under no obligation to provide funds for work beyond that approved in writing by BC Housing.

If the work is not complete but the contractor has requested partial payment, you will need to submit your request for payment and an invoice for the work completed so far. During the course of the work, we will make up to three payments if requested, including the final payment. Any costs beyond the amount approved in writing must be paid in full before BC Housing will advance any assistance.

The Declaration of Work Completed form will outline the terms and conditions of your assistance:

  • Homeowners are required to continue to own and occupy the home for up to three years, depending on the amount of assistance.
  • Landlords are required to agree that immediately subsequent to the adaptations being completed, for a period of one to five years, depending on the amount of assistance:
    • The unit(s) to be adapted will continue to be rented to households that are eligible for assistance under this program;
    • Rents in the adapted units will not be increased as a result of the adaptations;
    • Rent increases will not, under any circumstances, exceed the maximum annual rent increases allowed under the Residential Tenancy Act, regardless of whether or not the current tenant remains in the unit.
  • Inspections may be carried out by BC Housing or its representatives:
    • Prior to approval — to ensure the scope of work is appropriate and reasonable.
    • During construction – to confirm work is being completed as expected.
    • Following the completion of work — to ensure that the approved adaptations have been completed and are functioning as intended.

Does the program have limited funds?

Yes. We review applications on a first-come, first-served basis until the the government funding for the year is gone.

Do you have a question? Talk to someone at BC Housing. Call 604-433-2218 or 1-800-257-7756.

Landlords

You may be eligible for Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) assistance if you meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • The requested adaptations are eligible
  • The unit for adaptation is a legal, self-contained unit with a full kitchen and bathroom in the unit.
  • The tenant is a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and permanently resides in British Columbia.
  • The tenant or a member of their household has a permanent disability or diminished ability
  • The tenant’s household assets are less than $100,000 as per BC Housing’s Asset Policy for tenants. These include: cash or bank balance, stocks, bonds, term deposits, mutual funds, business equity, land, real estate or property holdings (including a home if the tenant owns it). These exclude: RRSPs, RESPs, RDSPs and vehicles.
  • The tenant’s household income is within the Housing Income Limit for your area (which also takes into account household composition).

  • The tenant’s rent is below the median rent level for your area.

The following housing is ineligible for HAFI:

  • Housing owned or subsidized by government at any level, or units that are part of a development which receives or has received government housing assistance. However, units occupied by households receiving assistance through the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance programs, may be eligible.
  • Applications on behalf of strata corporations.
  • Hotels, motels, lodges and bed and breakfasts.
  • Hospitals, nursing homes and residential care facilities.
  • Student housing, including dormitories.
  • Company housing provided to employees.
  • Religious institutions or associated residences, rectories and convents.
  • Recreational/seasonal properties or vehicles.
  • Dwellings On-Reserve.
  • Properties under construction.
  • Properties where foreclosure proceedings have commenced.

Next Step: Complete the application

Note: You may still be eligible if you are receiving assistance through BC Housing’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters program.

  1. Obtain an application form
  2. Complete the application
    • Part I – Completed and signed by Landlord
    • Part II – Estimates by individuals or organizations qualified to complete the adaptations
    • Part III – Completed and signed by Tenant If adaptations are requested for more than a single unit, complete Parts II and III for each unit or common area
    • Proof of income — your most recent Notice of Assessment (income tax return) from Canada Revenue Agency for every member of your household aged 16 years or older or you can submit the following acceptable alternatives as proof:
      • If you receive income assistance from the Ministry of Social Development: a copy of a recent cheque stub or a letter from your Ministry contact confirming your monthly assistance.
      • If employed: proof of current gross monthly income (copies of last three consecutive cheque stubs or letter from employer).
      • Copies of cheque stubs, bank statements showing direct deposit of pensions, or other confirmation of income for any other income sources.
    • Proof of assets —you should submit copies of bank statements or letters from financial institution(s) stating total value of all assets for each household member.
  3. Collect supporting documents and make copies This application is for landlords in the private market who wish to adapt a unit rented to an eligible tenant with a permanent disability or diminished ability. ‚Äč
    Note: If you want, you can submit your income and assets information directly to BC Housing, not to your landlord. If you do, clearly write that your information is part of a tenant’s application.
    • A copy of most recent Property Assessment Notice or land title showing the legal address of the property.
    • If your dwelling is part of a strata: the strata’s written concurrence with the proposed adaptations and that the repairs to the home are the sole responsibility of the property owner and not part of a special levy.
    • If you are not the owner but an authorized agent: documentation clearly identifying your authority.
    • For EACH UNIT or common area to be adapted:
      • A copy of a lease, tenancy agreement, or rent receipts showing current rent amount for each eligible tenant.
      • An itemized written estimate for the work requested for each unit or common area.
      • An itemized written estimate for the work requested:
    • Work costing up to $5,000 requires at least one detailed written estimate.
    • Work costing greater than $5,000 requires at least two detailed written estimates.
    • Work costing greater than $15,000 requires at least three detailed written estimates.
    • A written estimate should contain
      • The name and contact information for the person qualified to complete the work: (include a business card if they have one). If you are performing the work, identify as “self.”

      • Date the estimate was obtained.
      • An itemized list of work to be completed.
      • The cost for materials and labour, including taxes. If you are completing the work yourself, do not include labour costs.
      • A determination from a qualified individual whether a permit is required for the work.
  4. Submit the application package in one of three ways:
    • In person: bring your application package to a BC Housing office
    • By mail: Home Adaptations for Independence Program, BC Housing, 101-4555 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4V8
    • By fax: 604-439-8550

Considerations

  • Amount of assistance provided will be based on complete and eligible applications received on a first come first served basis while funds last.

  • Adaptations may affect your home warranty. If your home is less than 10 years old there may be a policy of home warranty insurance still in place. If so, please check with your warranty provider before making adaptations.

  • You are responsible for costs of work that exceeds the approved amount of assistance, or that is not eligible, or is beyond the scope of the program.

We will contact you within four weeks of receiving your application. If your application is successful, BC Housing will confirm the approved adaptations, the maximum value of your grant or loan, and the terms and conditions of your participation in the program. At this point we will also give approval for you to begin work.

You will have 90 days to complete the work from the date of approval. If you do not complete the work by that time and we do not hear from you, your assistance may be cancelled. Funds are limited and we have an obligation to reimburse work completed within the expected time frames.

Common reasons for not approving or cancelling an application include:

  • Not all of the eligibility criteria were satisfied
  • The application is incomplete
  • The application has lapsed
  • Funding is no longer available

Appeals: If your application is not approved and you wish to dispute the decision, you must submit in writing your reasons for appeal to the HAFI Appeals Committee within 30 days of the date of the rejection letter. You will need to submit an appeal with all supporting and required documents.

Home Adaptations for Independence Program 
BC Housing
Suite 101 – 4555 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC V5H 4V8
Fax: 604-439-8550

Approved assistance will be either a grant or a forgivable loan. You may be required to repay the assistance if you do not abide by the agreed terms and conditions of the approval.

Assistance will be paid upon receipt of all of your original invoices or receipts and a signed Declaration of Work Completed which will outline the terms and conditions of your assistance. BC Housing is under no obligation to provide funds for work beyond that approved in writing by BC Housing.

If the work is not complete but the contractor has requested partial payment, you will need to submit your request for payment and an invoice for the work completed so far. During the course of the work, we will make up to three payments if requested, including the final payment. Any costs beyond the amount approved in writing must be paid in full before BC Housing will advance any assistance.

The Declaration of Work Completed form will outline the terms and conditions of your assistance:

  • Homeowners are required to continue to own and occupy the home for up to three years, depending on the amount of assistance.
  • Landlords are required to agree that immediately subsequent to the adaptations being completed, for a period of one to five years, depending on the amount of assistance:
    • The unit(s) to be adapted will continue to be rented to households that are eligible for assistance under this program;
    • Rents in the adapted units will not be increased as a result of the adaptations;
    • Rent increases will not, under any circumstances, exceed the maximum annual rent increases allowed under the Residential Tenancy Act, regardless of whether or not the current tenant remains in the unit.
  • Inspections may be carried out by BC Housing or its representatives:
    • Prior to approval — to ensure the scope of work is appropriate and reasonable.
    • During construction – to confirm work is being completed as expected.
    • Following the completion of work — to ensure that the approved adaptations have been completed and are functioning as intended.

Learn more about funding and eligible properties & adaptations

Approved assistance will be either a grant or a forgivable loan. You may be required to repay the assistance if you do not abide by the agreed terms and conditions of the approval. BC Housing is under no obligation to provide funds for work beyond that approved in writing by BC Housing.

Please review the list below of eligible adaptations and properties that are permitted for the Home Adaptations for Independence program (HAFI).

If you qualify, you could receive up to $20,000 in financial assistance from the Home Adaptations for Independence program.

If you are a landlord or authorized agent who houses several renters with diminished abilities, you could receive up to $20,000 for each eligible unit.

The assistance pays for labour, materials and tax. The assistance is tax-free, but some conditions apply.

In some situations, you might qualify to receive extra funding for underlying deficiencies and common areas.

If you received approval to start the work and then discovered an underlying deficiency that prevented you from continuing, you could apply for an additional grant of up to $20,000. However, you’ll need to obtain a new estimate on the new scope of work as well as any additional permits. You’ll also need to notify BC Housing staff before proceeding. We may ask to inspect your worksite.

For condo and strata property homeowners, similar conditions apply. If you discover an underlying deficiency in your suite, you may apply for extra funding. You will need to prove that the deficiency is isolated to your suite, and not in the building in general. You cannot, for example, claim that a special levy — or the conditions leading to it — are an underlying deficiency.

As a landlord, you cannot claim costs for underlying deficiencies for rental buildings. However, there is a possibility that you can use the Home Adaptations for Independence grant to make adaptations in more than one suite at a time. If you house several eligible renters in separate suites, you may be able to modify multiple units with a single application. See Multiple-unit buildings for details.

Similarly, owners of strata suites and rental buildings could receive extra funding to adapt a common area. For up to two eligible units, you could receive up to $20,000 of additional funding to adapt the building’s common areas. The maximum amount is $40,000 when there are more than two eligible units in a building.

  • The payment comes in a type of grant called a forgivable loan.  
  • With a forgivable loan, you don’t have pay it back if you follow these few common-sense requirements.
  • If you are a homeowner, we ask that you agree to live in your home for a specified period of time. The number of years depends on how much you receive. See Table 1 for funding amounts and their loan forgiveness periods.
Funding Amount Forgiveness Period
Under $5,000 Forgiven in 1 year
$5,000 to $39,999 Forgiven over 3 years
$40,000 to $99,999 Forgiven over 5 years
$100,000 Secured by a mortgage registered on title and forgiven over 10 years

If you are a landlord, we ask that you agree to not raise your tenants’ rents as a result of the adaptations. Any increases to rent that you introduce must be within the maximum allowable rent increase percentage as published by the Residential Tenancy Branch.

Be aware that if your tenant moves out before the end of the forgiveness period, you can change the rent, but must keep the rent below the Rent Affordability Limits. You also must find another low-income tenant with similar needs who will benefit from the adaptations. Otherwise, you will have to pay the outstanding balance of the loan.

Some types of properties are eligible for the Home Adaptations for Independence program, and others are not.

Eligible properties:

  • A single-household house
  • Legal basement suite
  • A row home or townhouse
  • Co-operative housing, as long as it is not subsidized by any level of government
  • An individual unit in a strata corporation (condo) property
  • An individual unit in a multiple-unit rental building
  • More than one unit in a multiple-unit rental building. Some conditions apply. See Multiple-unit buildings for details
  • A common area connected with an individual unit in a multiple-unit building. Some conditions apply. See Multiple-unit buildings for details

Not eligible properties:

  • An entire rental building
  • An entire strata corporation (condo) property
  • Any housing owned, subsidized by or under agreement with any level of government
  • Units in a development that receive, or have received, government housing assistance
  • A hotel, motel, lodge or bed-and-breakfast accommodation
  • A hospital, nursing home or residential care facility
  • Student housing, including dormitories
  • Company housing provided to employees
  • Religious institutions or associated residences, rectories and convents
  • A recreational or seasonal property
  • A recreational vehicle or trailer
  • A dwelling on an Aboriginal reserve*

*Note: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has renovation programs to fund on-reserve dwellings.
Call the Corporation at 1-800-668-2642 for details.

Some types of home modifications are eligible for the Home Adaptations for Independence program, and others are not.

Reminder: The adaptations should directly address the disability or diminished ability of the homeowner, tenant or household member.

Eligible:

  • Widening of walkways, addition of slip-resistant surfaces, smoothing out abrupt changes in level with a ramp.
    • Provide safe access to the street, parking, entrances and other outside areas used for recreation and household chores. Walkways that are made of different textures from the main path of travel improve safety and accessibility.
    • Where ramps are not practical, consider an elevating device.
    • Where a choice may be made between a ramp and an elevating device, consider that the feature may be required in an emergency.
    • Since the design of a ramp depends on the specific needs of the occupant with disabilities, work out the details with a knowledgeable professional and ensure they are in accordance with applicable requirements for accessible design.
  • Construction of a canopy to shelter an entrance; installation of a shelter or canopy for a ramp or elevating device.
  • Widening and paving of a parking space.
    • Where a parking space is used by an occupant with disabilities, the width of the parking space should allow for the complete opening of the vehicle door.
  • Installation of an automatic garage door opener.
    • Controllable from inside and outside the garage.
  • Installation of a three-way switch to allow the garage or carport light to be controlled from inside and outside the house.
  • Installation of safety devices, such as a carbon monoxide detector connected to an alarm, or an exhaust fan system.
  • Installation of a transfer aid, such as a trapeze hung from the ceiling of a garage or carport, used to transfer an occupant to and from a mobility device.
  • Levelling of an entrance area on either side of an entrance door.
  • Installation of automated window blinds, including a remote-control device and related hardware.
  • Modification to doors, doorframes and window frames to ensure they are colour-contrasted to the surrounding wall surface.

Eligible:

  • Modification of entrance hallways, corridors and archways or doorways to improve safety and accessibility.
  • Installation of lever-type door handles.
  • Installation of handrails in corridors.
  • Installation of protective, durable surfacing and corner mouldings in high-use areas to protect walls and corners from a mobility device.
  • Installation of bevelled strips on either side of a threshold to provide accessibility for a mobility device.
  • Installation of colour-contrasted or reflective strips to the front edge of stair nosing.
  • Modification of stairs/landings.
    • This may include widening treads, lowering or adding risers and the installation of a non-slip surface.
  • Installation of interior elevating devices.
  • Construction of interior ramps to overcome small differences in levels.
  • Enclosing of open riser stairs/landings.
  • Installation of handrails/guide rails.
  • Replacement of unsafe floor coverings.

Eligible:

  • Lowering or relocating light switches.
  • Installation of locator light switches or additional switches.
  • Installation of special lighting for people with visual impairments, or the addition of lighting in areas including stairs, ramps, doorways, laundry areas and entrances.
  • Installation of a multiple cue fire/gas alarm system, such as a sound, sight and vibration alarm.
  • Installation of fixed alarms to be used by the occupant in the case of a fall or sudden illness.
  • Installation of electrical outlets that are colour-contrasted with the surrounding wall surface.
  • Raising or relocation of electrical outlets.
  • Wiring and installation of electrical outlets to accommodate special aids and equipment, such as a power outlet suitable for recharging a mobility device battery.
  • Lowering of the main electrical panel or the relocation of the panel to the main floor.
  • Upgrading the existing electrical panel to accommodate increased loads resulting from eligible adaptations.

Eligible:

  • Modification of an existing plumbing system, such as rerouting piping, in order to accommodate eligible adaptations.

Not eligible:

  • Repair or replacement of deteriorated, substandard or leaking plumbing systems.

Eligible:

  • Lowering HVAC controls.
  • Installation of HVAC controls that are colour-contrasted to the surrounding surfaces and provide tactile and/or auditory information indicating function and positions of controls.
  • Enclosure or insulation of radiators and other heating pipes or ducts to protect the occupant from burns.
  • Installation of local ventilation, such as a vented exhaust in the kitchen and bathroom (only eligible for persons with disabling allergies or environmental hypersensitivities).

Not eligible:

  • Repair or replacement of an existing heating system and replacement or maintenance of a furnace filter.
  • Installation of a heat recovery ventilator for energy efficiency purposes.
  • Purchase or installation of a portable dehumidifier, humidifier, air conditioner and/or air purifier.
  • Purchase or installation of a central humidifier, electronic air cleaner, electrostatic precipitator, ionizer, ozonator or other devices or appliances, whether built-in or freestanding.

Eligible:

  • Modification to the layout of the kitchen to improve safety and accessibility.
  • Installation of accessible switches for exhaust fans, safety mirrors and heatproof surfaces.
  • Modification to the sink area to provide accessibility with a mobility device.
    • This may include recessing of the sink area, insulation of piping under the sink and lever-type faucets with thermostatic controls.
  • Provision of space for kitchen appliances such as built-in countertop stoves, ovens and dishwashers.
    • These modifications are eligible only where they directly address the occupant’s permanent disability or diminished ability. Modifications for other appliances are not eligible.
  • Installation of auxiliary shut-off switches (secondary controls) for kitchen appliances.
    • This can allow a caregiver to shut off appliances from a secondary location to prevent unsupervised use.
  • Modification of kitchen counters and cabinets.
    • This may include adjustment to the height of work surfaces and cupboards, installation of cabinet door pulls, the provision of handles and knobs that are colour-contrasted to the cabinets and drawers and the provision of recessed toe space at the bottom of base cabinets.
    • Counters and cabinets may also be modified to be colour-contrasted to the backsplash.
  • Provision of a frame of colour (approximately 15 centimetres wide) around the perimeter of the floor to define floor space, such as where the walls or cabinets meet the floor.

Eligible:

  • Installation of grab bars to improve safety and accessibility around the sink, toilet, shower and bathtub.
  • Modification to the sink area to provide accessibility with a mobility device.
    • This may include recessing of the sink area, insulation of piping under the sink and lever-type faucets with thermostatic controls.
  • Modification to the bathing area to improve safety and accessibility.
    • This may include a wheel-in shower with or without a lift-up seat, a bathtub lift or bathroom chair (either portable or permanently fixed), lever-type or sensor-controlled faucets for bathtubs with thermostatic controls and a hand-held showerhead with flexible tubing.
    • This may include provision of a soaker tub or a therapeutic jet tub if deemed necessary to meet the demands of daily living within the home.
  • Lowering or installation of a countertop, vanity, medicine cabinet or permanently fixed change table.
  • Installation of a raised toilet, bidet or automatic wash toilet seat add-on.
  • Installation of a colour-contrasted sink, toilet, bidet and/or bathtub.
  • Provision of a contrasting border around the perimeter of the floor surface to identify where the wall meets the floor.
  • Modification to the layout of a bathroom to improve safety and accessibility.
    • If the modification of a bathroom to meet the occupant’s needs is not possible, it may be necessary to install a new bathroom in a different location.
  • Replacement of hot water tank, only if deemed necessary to support approved bathroom adaptations.

Eligible:

  • Construction of additional floor space to provide accessibility for mobility devices.
    • This may include additions to a bedroom, laundry room, bathroom, kitchen or storage space.

Not eligible:

  • Extensions or conversions for any purpose other than specified, such as recreational space, hobby room or office space.

Eligible:

  • Modification to the layout of a bedroom to improve safety and accessibility.
    • This may include the addition or modification of closet and storage space, and the addition of accessible closet doors.
  • Installation of grab bars and vertical poles to improve safety.
  • Modification to the layout of living or dining areas to provide safety and accessibility.
  • Installation of permanently fixed devices such as, but not limited to, lifting devices, overhead transfer tracks and trapeze devices.
  • Modification to the layout of the laundry room to improve safety and accessibility.
    • This may include the installation of items such as an accessible laundry tub, lever-type faucets with thermostatic controls for the laundry tub, a permanently fixed drying rack and a sorting counter top.
    • If the modification of a laundry room to meet the occupant’s needs is not possible, it may be necessary to relocate the laundry room to a different area.
  • Installation of equipment designed to improve access to an existing part of the home, such as a bath lift.

Not Eligible:

  • Replacement or maintenance of any deteriorated, substandard, leaking or inefficient items or systems.
  • Replacement of windows, including those that are deteriorated, leaking or damaged.
  • Emergency repairs to roofs and furnaces.
  • Supportive care, portable aids such as walkers and household appliances.

If there are one or more eligible units in a building, a landlord may also be eligible for additional assistance to complete modifications in common areas, as long as the modifications directly address the disability or diminished ability of occupants. Funding for common area adaptations may be issued in addition to funding for eligible units.

Eligible:

  • Conversion of handles from grip to lever-style.
  • Installation of exterior signage with large simple lettering on a high-contrast background, backlit signs and/or raised print or Braille.
  • Installation of audible signs to give directions in an apartment building.
    • These may be useful in the laundry room, entrance and exit, emergency exits and elevators.
  • Modification of elevator panels and doorjambs to include signage in raised print or Braille.