"I just didn't sit outside anymore, like I used to", Willie said, describing the adjustments she had made when the railings on her front porch had rotted away and it was no longer safe for her to climb up and down the slick stone steps. To prevent any accidental injury, Willie had her daughter Beverly block off the stairs with a portion of plywood. Willie's alternative entrance - her side door and step was beginning to rot too, but for now, it would have to do.
To get to Willie's house, you have to turn down a gravel alley that, if you weren't looking for it, you probably wouldn't even notice - it doesn't even show up on the map. Built in 1920 as part of the original Crestdale neighborhood, Willie's home was passed on to her by her parents. Concealed from the newer homes that have popped up around it in the past 100 years by big, billowy trees, you can almost close your eyes and imagine what the neighborhood was like in the early 20th century. Willie had always loved sitting on her front porch with their big stone steps, leaning against the wooden railings, enjoying her own little hidden corner of Matthews.
Beverly works for Mecklenburg county and happened to hear about our Critical Home repair program. She immediately knew her mother would be a great candidate for an accessibility modification and safety repair for her front and side porch and encouraged her to apply.
Once accepted and approved for funding, our Building Committee rallied together and quickly began the process of transforming the outside of her home. After replacing the rotten beams, ensuring the hand railings were stable, and cementing and sealing the steps, the structure of Willie's porch was safe and secure. To top off the project, the Building Committee gave both porches a couple of coats of crisp white paint.
Now Willie safely welcomes people up her stone steps into her historic home with welcoming arms and a smile on her face. She couldn't help but laugh as she described how transformed her porches were. “They look really different. They're beautiful - I just love them. When I go outside, I’m just smiling. They look so much different.”