"We simply couldn’t allow the homeowner to keep living this way- it wasn’t safe for anyone to be living in this home."
It was unlike anything we’d undertaken as an affiliate: an entire home rehabilitation. Our Critical Home Repair program is designed to address manageable-sized, individual home repairs that are affecting the health and safety of homeowners and their families, but present too much of a cost burden for limited-income families in our neighborhood to handle on their own. One home would have a roof leak, another a plumbing issue.
But this house was far beyond our one project approach – if we did one project at a time, it would take years. Among other things, the home needed a new roof, new electrical wiring, new insulation, a new water heater, and a new HVAC unit along with ventilation repairs. We knew we had to help this elderly, visually-impaired, member of our community. We simply couldn’t allow the homeowner to keep living this way- it wasn’t safe for anyone to be living in this home.
Our CHR team developed a scope of work for the project and got going right away. But before the project even got off the ground, we realized that the initial list of repair items was just a fraction of what needed to be done to make this home safe and secure. With every swing of the hammer, a new hazard seemed to appear. We found asbestos in the walls, realized the roof decking was rotted, the laundry floor was falling through, the crawl space was flooded and filled with debris – the list just kept growing. Almost immediately, our scope of work quadrupled in scale. Ultimately, we had to take the interior of the home down to the studs and rebuild- everything. What started out as a 90-day project extended into 6-months. We had no idea when we started that we would essentially be building a whole new house. While the delay was unfortunate, the end result was nothing short of a miracle. With the help of our dedicated Building Committee volunteers and subcontractors, we were able to completely transform and rebuild this home. We were able to walk away from this project knowing that a member of our community would get to live out their life safely in their own home.
This project challenged us all. To say there were obstacles along the way is an understatement, but Greater Matthews Habitat is committed to being able to give families the fresh start they need to build more secure stable lives. This house, and the work that was ardently done, serves as a testament to that commitment.
*To ensure the family's dignity and privacy, we have opted not to use their names.