A State Senator from Central New York wants homeowners to get tax credits of $2,750 to allow those with mobility issues to retrofit or build a new home. The Universal Visitability tax credit legislation was most recently passed by the State Legislature during the 2017 session. John DeFrancisco says the $5 million program would be spread across five years.
“The concept is very simple. If you have some type of condition that you have difficulty either visiting somebody at a house because you can’t get in, or can’t get in easily, or it’s your own home and you may be elderly, as well… and you need some modifications to that home in order to stay in the home, sometimes it’s expensive. (It’s) my belief that the State should help that individual make the necessary changes.”
While the tax relief is aimed at making it possible for Seniors to age in their homes, it would also help those with disabilities. The CEO of ARISE Tania Anderson says it’s taking too long for people to find the housing with designs that meet their needs.
“People with disabilities face waits of between one and four years to get into housing that meets their needs. And these are not complicated need(s). Without these features in a home, people with disabilities often find themselves in shelters, sharing housing with friends and relatives or homeless because they are unable to find a place to live in their community.”
Anderson adds the organization’s mission is to assist people with disabilities so they can live independently but, the obstacle quite often is the lack of access to affordable and inclusive housing in Central New York. She say that modifications can be as simple as taking a door off the hinges. DeFrancisco’s bill has been passed 3 times, but he says that Governor Cuomo ultimately vetoed it every time. He hopes that this time-around will bring about a different perspective.
“He’s a big project guy. But, these smaller bills with smaller costs, I think, are more important to the people who live in our state than some of these big announcements. And it’s frustrating to me because, to me, this is a no brainer. Maybe he’ll finally get it signed this year.”
According to DeFrancisco, the decision from Cuomo could arrive at any time but, it could take as long as the end of the year.