August 10, 2022 – 47abc WMDT – Two local organizations are teaming up to ensure more homeowners have access to safe and healthy living environments. To see the video story, click here.
Earlier this year, the Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services (SNHS) board of directors donated $20,000 of their rehab fund to Chesapeake Housing Mission (CHM). In June, SNHS submitted a grant application to its chartering organization, NeighborWorks America, to add to those funds. NeighborWorks American agreed to provide an additional $25,000 in grant money to CHM.
Difficult Decisions, Helping Hands
Now that SNHS and NeighborWorks America have provided the funds, CHM is providing the hands. “We take donated resources from organizations such as these to purchase the materials that we use for these low-income families, to do what we need to do in those homes,” said Michael Franklin, Executive Director of CHM.
When it comes down to difficult financial situations, Executive Director of SNHS Cheryl Meadows says making home repairs can often be left on the backburner for those who cannot afford it.
“On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, there’s a severe poverty issue. Lower income or elderly people can’t afford to make the necessary home repairs. They’re often having to choose between food, medicine, or fixing their house,” said Meadows. “There’s a lot of people who are falling through the cracks. So, with this partnership, we’re hoping to reach a lot more people.”
Improving Living Conditions
Meadows says neglecting home repairs or going without essentials like wheelchair ramps can lead to unsafe, and unhealthy living conditions. Help from organizations like SNHS and CHM can prevent that, she says. “You’re going to reduce the number of falls that an elderly person might have. If a roof is leaking, over time there can be mold, which can lead to respiratory issues,” said Meadows.
Unfortunately, Franklin says many low-income and elderly homeowners don’t have the financial option to do that themselves.
“Just to do one ramp build is going to be $2 or $3,000 in materials. So, having a funding source for that, it’s eight or nine different families that we’re supporting just with this one donation,” said Franklin. “Many of these people aren’t able to leave their homes. They’ve been in their homes for months. I was just in a home last week where this person has a cancer diagnosis, but he hasn’t seen his doctor since May, when he fell.”
Preparing to Build
Franklin says CHM has already assigned volunteers to 20 projects with the funding. The projects will be built out in September and October of this year, according to Franklin.
“It really does change the lives of these people, to give them a little more of their autonomy back. Particularly, autonomy within the homes,” he said. “For us to be able to access these types of resources, to then be able to turn into something that gives people more normalcy to life a life situation that has cause a lot of change in their homes, I think is very helpful to people in the community, and it’s very gratifying to us.”