Habitat for Humanity’s new program offers exterior facelifts to homes in need
Keeping a roof over one’s head is a challenge for many in today’s economy. For many, the price of heat and electricity greatly outweigh a home’s exterior needs, including a leaky roof, peeling paint or overgrown shrubs.
With that in mind, Habitat for Humanity, recognized internationally for providing new homes, established “A Brush with Kindness,” in which volunteers perform exterior repairs on existing homes. With a budget of up to $2,000 per home, the program promises to repair rooftops, spruce up landscaping and provide exterior fix-ups.
“A Brush with Kindness is a natural extension of what Habitat for Humanity has always done – providing people with safe homes,” local Program Coordinator Megan Beach explained. The program offers help to those who wouldn’t apply for a new Habitat home because they don’t want to move. It makes economic sense as well, Beach said, by avoiding the cost of the land and materials for a new home.
Statistics show crime decreases when people live in neighborhoods where owners take pride in home upkeep, Beach said. Vandalism, in particular, declines.
Habitat for Humanity welcomes anyone in Stallings, Indian Trail and Matthews who meets three basic criteria to apply for Brush with Kindness aid. The group is considering expanding its reach to nearby Mint Hill as well. To qualify, a person must own and live in his or her home. The program cannot serve those who use their home for rental income. Homeowners also must have homeowner’s insurance and be current on their county property taxes.
Once a local Habitat committee approves an application, the Habitat work team plans to complete the repairs in one day, aided by the homeowner’s “sweat equity.” The organization recognizes that seniors may have a difficult time putting in sweat equity and encourages homeowners to leverage the aid of friends and family.
“When seniors are involved, our experience has been that they just being present or making cookies does a lot for morale,” Beach said.
Habitat will also assess a flat-fee based on income level to contribute to their efforts, and the majority of its candidates bring home 30 to 80 percent of the area’s median income.
Although A Brush with Kindness focuses on exterior repairs, Habitat doesn’t ignore problems inside a home. “We provide referrals to partners in the community that can assist with interior rehab work from (heating and air conditioning) work to plumbing,” Beach said.
The folks behind A Brush with Kindness are eager to get to work, she added.