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Accessory Dwelling Units Can Address Accessibility Needs for Families

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are an increasingly popular way for homeowners and communities to respond to the affordable housing crisis by increasing the supply of housing.  ADUs can also be used to address the accessibility needs for families. They provide an option for multiple generations of a family to live in closer proximity to one another while maintaining their private space. Recent news stories in the Boston Globe have highlighted the benefits of ADUs:

“For years, in-law apartments have been discouraged in Greater Boston. The housing shortage is changing that.”

“How to make rent affordable in Boston”

We want to be sure that people know about the Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP), a state-funded program that can fund similar additions and adaptations to help family members with physical and cognitive limitations live more independently at home.

HMLP offers zero percent interest loans, up to $50,000, to assist homeowners with projects such as accessory dwelling units, ramps and lifts, kitchen and bathroom modifications, sensory spaces, and fencing. HMLP is a program of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission in collaboration with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC). To date, HMLP has helped over 3,000 Massachusetts families stay in their homes and communities, including the Darosa/Silva family.

Valeria, who has lived in Fitchburg with her parents Gladys Darosa and Daniel Silva since she was 3, has Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair for mobility. However, their family house wasn’t accessible- which made everything from entering the home to using the kitchen cabinets to showering either challenging or impossible without her parents’ help. The Darosa/Silva family worked closely with RCAP Solutions Financial Services, a HMLP provider agency, to convert an unused former garage into a studio apartment with an accessible bathroom and entrance. The $50,000 loan covered the full cost of modifications, and the entire construction process was done in six months. This modification has allowed Valeria to become more independent while still having her parents nearby when she needs support. Gladys explained, “This was the best decision we made.”

To learn more, visit or call 1-866-500-5599.

Featured images: Valeria and Gladys in the studio apartment in the Darosa/Silva family’s Fitchburg home.

Categories: CEDAC, HomeMod

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