A pair of Home Repairs volunteers work on a project to help a Harpswell resident stay safe, warm and dry.
BY ROB MONTANA, HARPSWELL AGING AT HOME
Harpswell Aging at Home’s Home Repairs Program is aimed at helping older adults age in their own homes by undertaking projects that will keep them safe, warm and dry.
But the program wouldn’t be possible without HAH’s partnerships with the town of Harpswell and Habitat for Humanity 7 Rivers to ensure successful delivery of home repair services.
The town has partnered with Harpswell Aging at Home since its inception. Town staff works with the Home Repairs Program to receive applications from older adults in Harpswell who are seeking home repairs and safety upgrades, determine income eligibility, and forward eligible applications to the Home Repairs Program and Habitat 7 Rivers for work to be scheduled.
“Home Repairs’ volunteer services are available to homeowners whose income levels are such that they cannot reasonably afford to hire local contractors for similar professional services,” said Steve Ingram, chair of the Home Repairs Committee. “This is to assure that (Home Repairs’) services are not in competition with local contractors providing such services.”
The town has been a critical partner in seeking and securing Community Development Block Grants to cover the cost of materials for work by Home Repairs volunteers. Past grants have provided more than $30,000 to support the Home Repairs Program.
In addition, the town’s code enforcement office reviews each Home Repairs work plan and materials list prior to the start of a project, as necessary, and provides required on-site inspections. Finally, the town transfer station offers space to park and store construction trailers, allowing easy all-weather access for Home Repairs volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity 7 Rivers conducts volunteer background checks; provides project oversight, liability insurance, accounting services and legal assistance; and recruits volunteers. Habitat supplies free materials, such as smoke alarms from the Red Cross and LED bulbs from Efficiency Maine, as well as storm windows.
Habitat 7 Rivers provides an average of $1,500 for building materials and subcontracted work for up to 25 approved Home Repairs projects per year, and seeks grant funding on behalf of Home Repairs to defray costs of building materials.
“Harpswell homeowners served by our HAH Home Repairs Team see a team of volunteers show up in their dooryard with a trailer of tools, and they see the results at the end of the day,” Ingram said. “But they don’t see the tremendous behind-the-scenes support from the town of Harpswell and from Habitat 7 Rivers that makes our Home Repairs program possible. We want to call attention to that support to show our appreciation for their commitment to our Harpswell community!”
For more information about the Home Repairs Program, visit HAH’s website at hah.community. For information on eligibility, call the town office at 833-5771.