SOUTH PORTLAND – The South Portland Housing Authority has opened applications for 2022 for its Senior Home Modification Program. This no-cost program for qualified South Portland residents who are over age 60 or disabled provides necessary home repairs and modifications to improve accessibility and function so residents can live safely and age in place.

To apply, residents should contact Phillip Smith, LCSW, director of resident services for the South Portland Housing Authority at psmith@spha.net or 207-773-4140 ext. 234. SPHA will work with residents to confirm eligibility, schedule a home visit to evaluate safety and accessibility needs, and determine a scope of work, site plan and schedule. Eligibility and income guidelines apply; residents will be asked to verify 2021 income and proof of homeownership. All inquiries and program participation are kept confidential. Each project will be limited to a total cost of $2,500 for labor and materials per household.

Repairs and modifications can include, but may not be limited to, installation of grab bars, railings, lever-handled doorknobs, faucets, adaptive equipment, carbon monoxide detectors, threshold ramps, dryer vent maintenance, refrigerator ventilation maintenance, and relocation of appliances where possible. The program is administered by the South Portland Housing Authority and funded by a grant from MaineHousing, with support from Age Friendly South Portland.

“As we and our housing age, safety factors creep up on us. I fell a few years back and broke my hip. I live alone and couldn’t get in the tub or shower. South Portland Housing came in and put safety bars up. It was truly a gift. One of my neighbors had them put new front stairs on her home as she couldn’t manage stairs without safety rails,” said Maxine Beecher, co-chair of Age Friendly South Portland, an official committee of the City of South Portland created to ensure the city’s older adult residents have access to services and infrastructure enabling them to live safely and with dignity as they age.

“The Senior Home Modification Program is a great example of collaboration between South Portland Housing Authority, Age Friendly South Portland, and other community-based partners,” said Larry Clifford, consultant for the Maine Council on Aging. “It will go a long way in preventing falls for older adults, which can sometimes be devastating in terms of quality-of-life.”

Gloria Twomey, a South Portland resident, was able to use the program to relocate her laundry room to be on the same level as her bedroom. Said Twomey:

“Living alone after back surgery, I was faced with the difficulty of having to carry my laundry up and down three small flights of stairs and the possibility that I may no longer be able to stay in the home I had lived in for 46 years. I reached out to several agencies and learned of South Portland’s program for aging in place. It has been even more helpful than I could have imagined, and I am grateful to him and this program for making it happen. The team also found other ways they could improve my safety such as installing handrails and smoke alarms. My thanks to all who were involved in this process to make my life safer.”


Established in 1943, the South Portland Housing Authority provides quality housing for low to moderate income, elderly, individuals with disabilities, and families in need. The SPHA provides affordable rental housing to more than 1,100 households including rental assistance through programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher. For more information visit http://www.spha.net/.