D.C. Law 21-168. Safe at Home Act of 2016.


To establish a home accessibility modification grant program to aid qualified residents with the cost of making modifications to their homes that improve accessibility and enhance independent living; and to amend section 47-1803.02 of the District of Columbia Official Code to make a conforming amendment.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the "Safe at Home Act of 2016".

Subchapter III. Safe at Home Program.

Sec. 2. Home accessibility modification grant program.

(a) For the purposes of this act, the term:

(1) "Accessibility modification" means the construction or modification of a principal place of residence to enable or increase independent living for a person with a disability or who is 60 years of age or more.

(2) "Disability" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 2(4) of the Disability Rights Protection Act of 2006, effective March 8, 2007 (D.C. Law 16-239; D.C. Official Code § 2-1431.01(4)).

(3) "Dwelling unit" means any room or group of rooms forming a single unit that is used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, and the preparation or eating of meals that is located within a building that is wholly or partially used or intended to be used for living and sleeping by a human occupant.

(4) "Principal place of residence" means a dwelling unit in the District of Columbia in which an individual lives more than 50% of the calendar year.

(b) There is established a home accessibility modification grant program, the Safe at Home Program, to be administered by the Mayor for the purpose of assisting eligible residents to reduce risks of falls and to help ameliorate mobility issues by providing accessibility modifications to their principle places of residence. The Mayor may issue grants up to $10,000 per residence and the grants shall be exempt from District income taxation.

(c) Accessibility modifications may include:

(1) Furniture risers;

(2) Handrails;

(3) Grab bars;

(4) Shower seats;

(5) Stair lifts;

(6) Ramps;

(7) Doors usable by a person in a wheelchair; and

(8) Other modifications to improve accessibility and enhance independent living.

(d) To be eligible for the Safe at Home Program, an applicant shall:

(1) Be a resident of the District of Columbia;

(2) Provide proof of the applicant's principal place of residence and proof that the applicant owns the principal place of residence, or that the owner of the principal place of residence has given the applicant permission to make an accessibility modification to the property;

(3) Provide proof of a disability; except, that a person 60 years of age or more shall be exempt from this requirement; and

(4) Meet household income-eligibility limitations, as prescribed by the Mayor by rule.

(e) The Mayor shall:

(1) Develop a grant application form specific to the Safe at Home Program that shall require the minimum information and documentation necessary to determine eligibility for the program;

(2) Provide written notification to an applicant of approval or denial of a grant application within 60 days after receipt of a completed application, and if denied, include the reason for the denial and the process for reconsideration;

(3) Ensure that only fully licensed, certified contractors perform work authorized by the Safe at Home Program; and

(4) Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, pursuant to Title I of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, approved October 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 1204; D.C. Official Code § 2-501 et seq.), issue rules to implement the provisions of this act, which shall include:

(A) Household income-eligibility limitations;

(B) Guidelines for installation projects consistent with current ADA Accessibility Guidelines (28 CFR part 36, subpart D and 36 CFR 1191, appendices B and D) as published in Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, Department of Justice, September 15, 2010; and

(C) Standards to ensure that the accessibility modifications authorized by the grant meet the needs of the applicant.

Sec. 3. Section 47-1803.02(a)(2) of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended by adding a new subparagraph (CC) to read as follows:

"(CC) The amount received by a taxpayer pursuant to section 2(b) of the Safe at Home Act of 2016, passed on 2nd reading on September 20, 2016 (Enrolled version of Bill 21-316).".

Sec. 4. Applicability.

(a) This act shall apply upon the date of inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan.

(b) The Chief Financial Officer shall certify the date of the inclusion of the fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, and provide notice to the Budget Director of the Council of the certification.

(c)(1) The Budget Director shall cause the notice of the certification to be published in the District of Columbia Register.

(2) The date of publication of the notice of the certification shall not affect the applicability of this act.

Sec. 5. Fiscal impact statement.

The Council of the District of Columbia adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 4a of the General Legislative Procedures Act of 1975, approved October 16, 2006 (120 Stat. 2038; D.C. Official Code §1-301.47a).

Sec. 6. Effective date.

This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 30-day period of congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.

Law Information


  • D.C. Law 21-168 (PDF)
  • 63 DCR 12594


Nov. 26, 2016

Legislative History

Law 21-168, the “Safe at Home Act of 2016,” was introduced in the Council and assigned Bill No. 21-316 which was referred to the Committee on Finance and Revenue and Committee on Housing and Community Development. The bill was adopted on first and second readings on July 12, 2016, and Sept. 20, 2016, respectively. After mayoral review, it was assigned Act No. 21-491 on Oct. 4, 2016, and transmitted to Congress for its review. D.C. Law 21-168 became effective Nov. 26, 2016.