Adeline lives alone in a mobile home. She applied to WARM for repairs to her floors, which were rotting out from under her, and some weatherization. WARM personnel made contact with another agency that had recently received a grant for weatherization. WARM volunteers moved her belongings into a storage pod, the contractor made improvements to the structure of the floor, and the partner agency installed needed insulation around the mobile home. Adeline is now much safer in her home and, with just a few thousand dollars worth of help, has been able to stay in her home. She had few other options as there is no one else in her life that could have taken her in if her home was to become uninhabitable.
Sammy and Mary were in need of flooring repairs and exterior repairs. Because the work required only carpentry and painting, we were able to assign the project to a youth group who came from out of town. On the day the group was to start the work, the WARM Project Manager arrived first to find out that Mary had died early that morning. The Project Manager offered to find the group another project so they would not disturb the family during their time of grief. But Sammy and the rest of the family asked the group to go ahead with the project, knowing Mary was excited about receiving the help and she would have wanted them to stay. The group not only repaired the floor and siding, they brought comfort to a suffering family. And Mary died knowing that there were people in the community who cared enough about her to provide repairs for her home.
Robert’s septic system failed several years ago. Without funds to make the repairs himself, he dug a trench from his home to a nearby stream to dispose of his household wastewater. With a grant from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, WARM repaired the septic system and fill in his trench. Stopping the wastewater from entering the stream was, of course, just as beneficial to our community as it was to Robert and his daughter.
Adrian recently became disabled. He lives in a mobile home that is not safely accessible by wheelchair. WARM volunteers from a local church built him a wheelchair ramp that was designed pro-bono by a licensed architect who frequently volunteers for WARM. Building materials were paid for by a grant from the Catherine Kennedy Home Foundation. Next, they will install a new door that is wide enough for his wheelchair and make some other upgrades to his bath, kitchen, and interior doorways so that he can maneuver in his home and live independently.
Sandra is a single mom. Her floors were so badly rotten that she had taped the soft spots to designate where she and her son shouldn’t walk so they would not fall through. She also needed a refrigerator and some weatherization to reduce her expensive power bill. A grant from the Landfall Foundation provided funds for building materials and a gently-used refrigerator. Skilled volunteers from a local church were able to address all of the urgent problems with her home. Sandra and her son feel like they have a “home,” not just shelter. Her son has volunteered on other WARM worksites and Sandra is scheduled to help in the WARM office.
Nehemiah is in his seventies. He worked hard to purchase his mobile home but his physical condition prevents him from performing the repairs himself. To make matters worse, he was recently left disabled by a car accident. The other driver was at fault because she was texting on her mobile phone while driving. Although bolts now hold his spine together, he is able to navigate stairs – with pain and difficulty – so he does not qualify for a wheelchair or wheelchair ramp from traditional sources. WARM volunteers completed some repairs to his bathroom, replaced dilapidated doors, and added railings and other accessibility upgrades. As part of our enhancement of services, WARM Homeowner Advocates are now helping Nehemiah to determine if a wheelchair and ramp would improve his quality of life and if so, how we can help him secure them.
Debra has worked hard to raise her two children by herself and give them a safe, secure home. She instilled this work ethic in her children and they are now both in college on scholarships. As the years passed and expenses increased, it became harder and harder to maintain their home. In July, a mission work team from Lindley Park Baptist in Greensboro came to Wilmington to work with WARM… after a beautiful Sunday on the beach! They made exterior repairs to window frames and fascia, painted, and built a landing with stairs and railings. All week long, Debra and her children worked alongside the volun-tourists as great friendships were born. At the end of the week, they went out together for pizza and a movie.
Carl is an amputee. His disability check is just enough for his bills and medicine and he has no extra money for repairs. Floors were sagging and it became harder to move around his own home in his wheelchair. He was afraid he would fall through a soft spot. A leak in the roof was making it worse. A mission work team made up of almost all young women from Williamsons Chapel in the Charlotte area completely rebuilt the floors in several rooms of the home to ensure it safety. Carl’s son enjoyed working with them throughout the week. He was happy to see his father helped and happy for the female companionship! A grant from Four County Electric Care Trust paid for the roof repair.
The following story was submitted by Peggy Ball
Our church, Wesley Memorial UMC, along with other churches in the Wilmington area had been to Biloxi after Katrina hit to help in the recovery process. The disaster team members developed friendships with those people they had had helped and worked alongside with. In June 2008, a team from Biloxi came to Wilmington. Their goal was to work on a repair project to show their appreciation for all the help they received. Two WARM projects were chosen: a small bungalow and a mobile home.
The mobile home needed so much work that the homeowner moved temporarily to her sister’s house. When our church members arrived to begin work, we realized that the homeowner was a member of our church! This hit hard to think that a member did not feel comfortable in asking the church for help. As a result we have started a new program, Sower’s, to assist church members with home repairs.
Cathy, the homeowner, was very introverted and did not make eye contact. She was helping with vacation bible school that same week and would stop by each day to see what had been accomplished. By the third day we had convinced her to sit down and have lunch with us. The Biloxi group took her shopping to pick out a new sofa, chair and dining table. She was so excited!! We also let her choose the paint colors for each room. We included her in decisions for her home and by the end of the week we had made a friend! The home needed so much work and we wondered if we were going to be able to accomplish what was needed. All the sub flooring had to be replaced, walls replaced, plumbing, electrical work. The ladies working on the project bought new blinds and curtains for the windows, towels, shower curtain, bathroom rug. A new refrigerator was purchased and a slightly used stove and bedspread was donated. Cathy was so excited by the end of the week to see all the changes and could not wait to show her sister. Cathy was blessed, but the volunteers that week were blessed even more.
The next project we worked on with WARM was the mobile home of Jake and Faye, a disabled man and his wife. The day we completed the assessment, Faye would not come out of the bedroom. Jake told us she was very depressed. We completed repairs a section at a time. When one part was done we had to give them 3-4 weeks to get things moved so we could begin the next section. We also had to coat the roof, repair a porch and install storm doors at both doors. The inside needed all new subflooring, walls replaced, plumbing and electrical work, new water heater, air conditioning repaired… which had not worked for over 2 years.
By the third day, Faye had come out of the bedroom and was starting to talk to us. When we finished the 2 front bedrooms, she could not believe the change. She said she wanted to move in there so she didn’t have to look at the rest. She told us that they would always sleep late because there was no reason to get up. It was too depressing. It took about 3 months to complete repairs to the home. They enjoyed it together for about 2 months when I received a call from Faye asking our church to pray for Jake. He had had a stroke and was in ICU unresponsive. Jake died within the week.
We offered Faye support through all her grieving. We helped her financially, spiritually…. she was assigned a Stephen minister (specially trained lay care-givers), and showed her that Christ loves her and will be there for her. Looking back we know why God chose that home for us; she needed much more than home repairs, she needed friends. I am sure that Jake is happy to see that Faye has support from her brothers and sisters in Christ. And we have been blessed by being God’s hands and feet.