Changing Your Home
updated April 21, 2017

This page looks at how you might be able to improve specific things about where you live so that you can stay there without having to find a new place. It’s a good idea to think about whether you can stay where you are, since it can be really hard to find a new place that meets all of your needs and you might discover that it’s not a lot better than your current place. Many of these ideas are discussed in more detail in HB101’s Keeping Your Housing article.

You might already know about some of these strategies, but some of them could be new to you – even if you thought you had to move, you might be able to stay at your current place.

Making Your Current Place More Affordable

If you want to move because your current place is too expensive, you have three main options for making your current place more affordable:

  • Saving money that you spend on other things
  • Getting benefits that can help pay for your housing
  • Working and earning more money

HB101’s Keeping Your Housing article has detailed information about these methods for improving your financial situation.

Things you probably can’t fix at your current place

Even if you like your current place and would like to be able to stay there, there are some things that you probably can only solve if you move:

  • If your apartment is too small
  • If you depend on public transportation and it is not available where you live
  • If you need to live closer to your family or work
  • If there’s too much crime where you live now
  • If you want to buy a home

If you have any of these problems and it is important for you to solve, you probably need to start looking into moving.

Improving Your Relationships with the People You Live Around

If the problem with the place where you live is that you don’t get along with the people around you, like your housemates or your neighbors, it might be possible to improve your relationships with them.

Try:

  1. Venting with a friend first, just to get your feelings out and get support from someone you trust
  2. Calmly discussing the issue with your neighbor or housemate so you can work together on a solution
  3. Listening sincerely — the other person’s ideas may help solve the problem

You can also try sending your neighbor a letter using Home Line Minnesota’s template.

If the problem continues, you may need to get help from a mediator who can help resolve problems. By using mediation, you can avoid a costly lawsuit.

Fixing Up Your Place

If you own your home and are having trouble keeping it in good enough condition, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) might help you pay for home improvements that can also lower your utility and maintenance expenses over the long term.

WAP could provide free evaluations of ways to make your home more energy efficient and weatherproof and then pay for improvements, like exterior wall and attic insulation.

Other programs that may help you with home repairs include:

Making Your Place Meet Your Disability Needs

If you don’t like your place because you think it doesn’t meet your disability needs, you might be able to make some improvements. For example, to make it accessible if you use a wheelchair, you could add a home stair lift (a sort of elevator that can go up your existing staircase).

There are many ways to make your housing meet your needs. To get ideas, talk to other people with disabilities similar to your own or with accessibility specialists — a good place to find someone is at your local independent living center.

There are programs that can help pay for the accessibility improvements you need. Read about them in HB101’s Keeping Your Housing article.

Getting Services in Your Home

Sometimes, people think they have to move into a group home because they need help with things like bathing or toileting. However, you may be able to stay in your own home by having people help you with different services. For example, you could have a personal care assistant (PCA) come to your home for a few hours each day and help you with things like bathing, meals, taking medication, and transportation.

HB101’s Programs section includes information about how you can get help paying for these services.

Get a free evaluation of what services and programs might help you

Contact your local county human services agency and ask to be reviewed for long-term care services. This review is called a MnCHOICES assessment.

Anybody who thinks they might need long-term services can ask for this, even if they don’t qualify for any benefits. Within 20 business days, the county must send an assessor over to review your situation and see which long-term care programs or services might help you. If you might qualify for benefits, the assessor will help you get started with the application.