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"It's sweltering... hard to breathe... please." That urgent message arrived at 10:18 pm, long after our offices had closed, on yet another stifling North Carolina summer night. The sender? Emma, a homeowner in Mint Hill, and her words held a gravity that couldn't be ignored. For over a year, her family had been enduring the harsh reality of living without proper heating or cooling.

In the midst of a summer where temperatures soared to all-time highs, Emma's worries deepened. Heat is the leading weather-related cause of fatalities in the United States, and she feared for her family's well-being. Her concern was especially acute for one of her daughters, who battled asthma, struggling even more in the sweltering heat. The summer was further marred by the distant but troubling presence of Canadian wildfires, forcing them to keep their windows open for relief, albeit at the cost of poor air quality that exacerbated her daughter's condition.

Emma's life had taken a challenging turn over the past year due to health problems, rendering her unable to work. Her husband, Paul, carried the financial burden alone, with money stretched thin to cover life's essentials. So, when the HVAC company handed down an estimate of over $10,000 to repair their 15-year-old unit, it felt like a devastating blow – something they simply couldn't afford.

Desperate for assistance, Emma initially sought help from a state-operated home repair program, only to encounter a discouraging waitlist of over two years. Fortunately, Emma found an alternative on her social media feed – the Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity Critical Home Repair program. Determined, she reached out, scheduled an appointment, and began the application process. After a home visit and several HVAC estimates, a new system was installed at no-cost to Emma and her family.

The day after installation, Emma called our offices once more – this time, to share the joy of her first good night's sleep in a long while. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude for a program that extended a helping hand to homeowners in our community when they needed it most.

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