As the home Jim and Juliana Gaudet built 50 years ago continued to age, its upkeep was becoming a challenge. Their sons helped with many repairs. However, when their ramp and the steps into their house became a safety issue, their daughters-in-law suggested that they inquire about Harpswell Aging at Home’s home repairs team.
“I didn’t think we would qualify,” Juliana Gaudet said. But a five-minute phone call with Gina Caldwell, community services coordinator at the Town Office, set the process in motion.
Judy Muller, from HAH’s resources team, made an initial visit and provided information about what to expect from the home repairs team and other HAH programs.
“Judy told me I would be amazed at what they would find around the house to fix — things I never thought of,” Juliana Gaudet said.
The home repairs team, which works in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, is comprised of about 10-15 Harpswell residents with a variety of backgrounds. They come together weekly, typically split into a couple of work sites, and enjoy each other’s company while volunteering their skills.
“We all get a lot out of working on the team,” said Bruce Brandt, the project manager assigned to the Gaudet property. “We get to know other homeowners and have great camaraderie.”
A new ramp at the Gaudet house, one of many projects by the home repairs team.
Upon receiving the referral, Brandt and members of his team visited the Gaudets to learn more about the project. They walked around the house and made suggestions for improvements.
“We have a long list of things we check for and then it is up to the homeowner to decide what they would like done,” Brandt said.
Among the many items on their list are checking insulation and looking for safety issues. Once the Gaudets agreed on the tasks to be completed, Brandt and his team planned the project and went to work.
The Gaudets were thrilled with the results. A new ramp and steps, along with deck repairs, have made it safer to get in and out of the house.
“They handled everything so well,” Juliana Gaudet said. “They were well organized, worked well together, and, with the insulation and weatherstripping, our oil bill went down by 25% to 35%. The work they did would have cost us thousands of dollars!”
“This program works to keep homeowners warmer, safer, drier,” Caldwell said. “It’s aimed at keeping you in your home for the future.”
To request assistance from the home repairs team, call Caldwell at 207-833-5771 ext. 108.