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Habitat starting home rehab program

Mike Marturello 

Sep 16, 2018

ANGOLA — Habitat for Humanity of Northeast Indiana is kicking off a new program in Steuben County aimed at making critical repairs of homes.

The name of the program is Restore Our Community, which was developed by senior marketing students at Trine University.

“We still want to build homes, but it costs us $80,000 to serve one family with one home, whereas $80,000 can serve 15-20 families through critical home repairs. We are excited about this new program. There’s nothing around like it,” said Marianne Stanley, executive director for Habitat.

The Restore Our Community program helps low-income homeowners who are affected by age, disability or family circumstances and struggle to maintain the integrity of their homes, Stanley said.

Through the program, families are able to reclaim their homes with pride and dignity.

Critical home repair “is designed to pursue our strategic goal of helping to transform and strengthen communities so that those who reside in them will be able to live and grow into all that God intends for them,” Stanley said. “Restore Our Community addresses the health and safety of the individual residences in a neighborhood, strengthens connections within the community and helps preserve affordable housing stock.”

This is a home preservation program that provides needed interior and exterior repairs for low-income homeowners so that they may maintain a safe, decent and affordable place to live.

This program focuses on safety, security, accessibility, weatherization and keeping houses up to city codes. Through project management oversight, which typically includes volunteer labor, Habitat will assist families with completing home repairs.

This home preservation program is designed to provide a hand up, not a hand out, to homeowners who are in need such that they may feel proud and dignified about the place they call home, Stanley said.

Funding for the program is through the Rogers Fund at the Steuben County Community Foundation.

“I took our strategic plan to the Steuben County Community Foundation and asked if they would change the stipulation on the Rogers Fund from only building homes, to allowing us to use the funds for critical repair. Thank goodness they said yes,” Stanley said.

Eligible homeowners may qualify for grant funding to cover the repairs below and many more:

• Replacing roof and gutters

• Installing new vinyl siding

• Installing wheelchair ramps

• Replacing porch and steps

• Installing an energy-efficient furnace and/or water heater

• Upgrading electrical service

• Installing new copper plumbing

• Replacing windows

The program is open to low-income residents of DeKalb, Noble and Steuben counties, currently living in their owner-occupied home. Home owners must have a need, be willing to partner with Habitat by completing “sweat equity” and must have a household gross income that falls within the income guidelines.

For information about the program, contact Stanley at 925-2508.