Home has a new meaning now that Americans have experienced quarantine due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, for individuals living in substandard housing, home doesn’t always provide serenity. Sometimes home isn’t as safe as it should be which leads to increased physical and mental health concerns.
Utilizing funds from NCCAA’s Healthy Homes Initiative, Mountain Projects Community Action Agency has supported its clients in ensuring that their houses feel like homes. The Healthy Homes Initiative, funded through an endowment by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, provides up to $2,500 in home repairs for qualified homeowners. “The Healthy Homes Initiative funding has allowed us to meet more needs in our community,” said Mountain Projects’ Executive Director Patsy Davis. “Our waiting list for home repairs is so long it can sometimes take years to receive vital services. Every dollar we receive helps us touches lives, meet emergency needs, improve our community, and helps our neighbors remain independent and safe in their homes.”
With its initial round of funds, Mountain Projects assisted 16 clients with home updates, including the addition of handicap ramps, interior pest control management, making safety repairs, correcting moisture-mold abatement and air purification issues, and replacing carpet. After being stranded inside her own home for several weeks, one Mountain Projects client is particularly grateful for the Healthy Home Initiative. A badly needed driveway culvert-repair prevented the client from leaving her yard. Her brother brought food to her by carefully crossing a ladder that he had placed over the ditch. The client was unable to maneuver the ladder, so remained shuttered in her home until the repair was made.
Mountain Projects Community Action provides vital services to the elderly, disadvantaged and general public in Western North Carolina.
At Macon Program for Progress (MPP), Healthy Homes Initiative funds have support updates to 10 homes, nearly a dozen more projects underway. Wheelchair-accessible ramps and porches, old carpet and flooring have been replaced. Open projects include the construction of ramps, flooring replacements, addressing handicap accessible bathroom issues, installing new tubs and showers, replacing gutters, fixing plumbing, and repairing holes in roofs.
Chuck Sutton, MPP, executive director said, “Macon Program for Progress was excited to get this initiative started and so we could begin to help residents here in Macon County with home improvements, safety and health-based upgrades. This has been a rewarding program to oversee, and the positive changes we have been able to experience within our community are truly a blessing.
“With the help of community partners, we have replaced flooring, built wheelchair-accessible ramps, fixed electrical problems, built porches with safe handrails, replaced windows, and more,” he said. Through its partnership with Habitat for Humanity, MPP has leveraged Healthy Homes Initiative funds for upgrades to the homes of several clients.
An elderly mother and her adult son, both suffering from multiple chronic health issues, were in need of upgraded flooring for their home. The agency replaced carpet throughout the home. “The agency did an amazing job,” said the client. “This has made such a difference in our lives.”
An MPP client with severe visual impairments received MPP support for the construction of a ramp for her home. The client and her live-in caregiver granddaughter were thankful for the renovated porch and new ramp, allowing the client to more safely maneuver in and out of her home.
For more information on the Healthy Homes Initiative, please visit https://www.nccaa.net/healthy-homes-initiative.
Kelley Traynham is a writer in the North Carolina Community Action Association’s
Communications Fellows Program. NCCAA Communications Fellows are students or recent
graduates pursuing a career in communications, graphic design, IT, public policy or a related
field. They receive a stipend for their participation in the program. For more information on the NCCAA Communications Fellows Program, please contact Yvette Ruffin, director of the NCCAA Communications Fellows Program