Home Repair Makes Big Impacts
The Asheville Habitat Home Repair Program is an affordable housing superstar that tends to stay out of the spotlight while having a huge impact on our communities. It is integral in improving affordable housing in our area as it helps low income and older adult residents live better in their homes, for longer. Whether fixing a leaky roof, installing a ramp, or replacing heating systems, Asheville Habitat’s affordable home repairs enable homeowners to live safely, and with dignity, where it may otherwise have been financially out of reach. Home repair preserves the character, affordability, and diversity in our local neighborhoods and allows long-time residents to stay in their most affordable option- the home they already own, and avoid being priced out of their community. It is clear why this type of affordable housing program is vital to our community and why 75% of the families served through Asheville Habitat are home repair clients.
In an effort to learn more about the impact of home repair on the lives of our clients, as well as learn how the program can improve, Asheville Habitat AmeriCorps member Jessica Gustines, recently conducted a survey of 103 households who were served through the Home Repair program between 2018 and 2021. Between March, 2018 and July, 2021, the Asheville Habitat Home Repair program completed 135 repair jobs through a broad range of services, including accessibility modifications, heating/cooling systems repair, roof repair, floor repair, interior and exterior repairs, and exterior painting/staining. Jessica personally chatted with over 100 families, verbally collecting feedback on various parts of the Home Repair program process. Families were asked to rank on a scale of 1-5, how the repair job impacted various aspects of their life in their home. The biggest impacts were in the safety and longevity of clients homes with the enjoyment of their homes close behind. However, every category scored above a 4.5 (out of 5), a very telling outcome!
Jessica recalls that outside of the high rankings in all the categories, many clients were effusive in their praises of the program. She heard many times how kind, courteous, and diligent the team was and how happy the clients were to have the team working in their homes. She also heard many times that the families would not have been able to get the repairs done without Habitat’s affordable program, and families expressed much gratitude for making repairs possible for them.
The survey revealed overwhelmingly positive results- confirming both the great need for affordable home repair and the quality of the work done by Asheville Habitat’s program. Home repairs done through the AAHH program are not free, but because of generous donors, sponsors and grants, the cost is significantly lower, and families are set up with a short-term payment plan they can afford. In fact, the data collected by this survey has been used to secure future funding to continue to grow this much needed service in our community.
After completing the survey process, Jessica commented, “It’s obvious the need is great and our program is successfully addressing that need. But I know that despite our best efforts there are many people and repairs we cannot serve or address. I think the repair program is really important for maintaining affordability though preserving the existing stock of affordable homes in the area. It is essential work to take care of the people that have been living here their whole lives. While there are a few other affordable repair programs in the area, it’s definitely an issue that could use more attention, manpower, and resources.”
If you would like to sponsor a home repair through Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, contact Beth Russo at 828-407-4487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.