PEI

P.E.I. home renovation program now open all year

The province of P.E.I. said it wants to make it easier for islanders to renovate their home. On Wednesday government announced several changes to its home renovation program for 2019.

The province of P.E.I. has made several changes to the program to reach more Islanders

The government of P.E.I. has now opened its home renovation program all-year-long, but it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis until the $1.5 million in funding runs out. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The province of P.E.I. said it wants to make it easier for islanders to renovate their home. On Wednesday government announced several changes to its home renovation program for 2019.

The program provides grants up to $6,000 for Islanders looking to make major renovations in electrical, heating, plumbing and fire safety. It also provides up to $8,000 for people with a permanent disability who are looking to make their homes more accessible.

Minister for Family and Human Services Tina Mundy said her department received about 300 applications for the program last year but hopes to make it available for more people.

"We were getting some feedback from clients who have used the program as well as our department staff," said Mundy.

"So we felt we could tweak it a little bit ... and enhance the program to make sure we're casting a wider net and reaching the most Islanders."

Changes to income criteria 

As part of the changes, government has eliminated any deadline for the program but it's now on a first-come first-serve basis. The total funding for the program is $1.5 million.

It's also changed the criteria in order to qualify for the grant:

  • People can now apply for funding every 15 years instead of once per lifetime.
  • Islanders with a maximum income of $50,000 can now apply for the program. That's increased from $35,000.
  • Their assessed property value can be up to $200,000, increased from $145,000.​

The province has also changed the program so that grants reflect the amount of income someone earns. For example, a household that's earning $35,000 or less would qualify for the full $6,000 grant. A household that earns about $50,000 would qualify for $1,000. 

Shortage of contractors

While the hope is for Islanders to spend those grants within this year's budget, Mundy said the province is prepared to be flexible considering the shortage of construction workers at the moment.

Last year, applications didn't open until April, but Mundy said by that time people were struggling to find available contractors.

Minister for Family and Human Services Tina Mundy says the deadline for spending grants on renovations will be flexible to deal with any challenges in hiring contractors. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We had many cases like that last year where we had people that were having difficulties getting quotes from developers and from builders because it's a busy season," Mundy said. "That was one of the reasons we decided to open the program early as well."

Applications for the 2019 program are now open. To see if you qualify for the grant, visit www.princeedwardisland.ca/homerenoprograms, call 1-855-374-7366 or visit any Access PEI location.

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