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Home access reaches fever pitch

Home access reaches fever pitch ‘We’ve had a lot of visibility in the past year, and this will take it to another level’

Jim greatorexWASHINGTON – VGM Live at Home hosted a virtual town hall meeting in May to drum up support for H.R. 7676, a bill that would provide tax incentives for home modifications so seniors and those with disabilities can more easily and safely continue living in their own homes. 

The Home Modification for Accessibility Act, introduced by Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and Thomas Suozzi, D-N.Y., would allow a tax deduction of up to $30,000 for specified home safety and accessibility upgrades.  

“It is a non-controversial bill,” said Tony Gregg of Crist’s office during the town hall. “It pays for itself. The estimates for the cost to Medicare and Medicaid for falls every year is $50 billion.” 

Homeowners would get two opportunities to use the benefit, according to VGM Live at Home: At or before age 59.5, they could use retirement funds without penalty and get the tax deduction; after age 59.5, they could use anything left over for additional upgrades. 

Crist also introduced a previous bill, the Senior Accessible Housing Act, in 2021 that would have allowed homeowners to receive a refundable tax credit to make home modifications of up to $30,000 over a lifetime, but tax credits have a higher price tag than tax deductions. 

“When it scored, the cost was expected to be far too great for it to move,” Gregg said. “We were trying to do it, but we didn’t have the right mechanism in place.” 

With a new bill, stakeholders are now targeting members of the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives for support. They’re also targeting the Senate for a companion bill, something that would improve the chances of being attached to a larger piece of legislation. 

“I’ve received a lot of interest in the legislation, including from those I didn’t expect to hear from,” Gregg said. “It’s getting a lot of buzz for having been introduced for a short period.” 

Because congressional offices can get 100 to 200 emails per day – “all asking for something,” Gregg said – stakeholders will want their pitches to have “a personal touch.” 

“Those coming from constituents with real needs – those tend to rise to the top,” he said. 

Another way stakeholders can add more weight to the bill: Support HomesRenewed, a coalition led by Louis Tenenbaum that, along with the Sheridan Group, a lobbying firm it hired, brought the bill to Crist’s office. 

“Unless we get some increase in funding for this coalition, this thing could stall due to lack of funds,” said Jim Greatorex, vice president of VGM Live at Home. “Be forward thinking and pay it forward in your business.” 

Stakeholders believe the bill could do for the home access market what similar tax deductions have done for home ownership and solar power. 

“We’ve had a lot of visibility in the past year, and this will take it to another level,” Greatorex said.


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