The Faces of 90.5 WESA
Wed June 11, 2014
Funding Helps Veteran Homeowners With Costly Repairs
The Home Depot Foundation has given $200,000 toward repairing the homes of 28 veterans in the Pittsburgh region. Without the repairs, some of the vets could end up homeless.
There are currently tens of thousands of homeless veterans in the U.S. and thousands more are at risk of becoming homeless. For those who are homeowners, security is not always a guarantee — many are one stop from becoming homeless.
“This could be because of medical bills, it could be layoffs or any other number of problems and they simply cannot afford to move anywhere else,” said Bob Beachy, with the Home Depot Foundation.
And many can’t afford to make needed, but costly, repairs to their homes.
John Malloy is an Air Force veteran who has lived in his Hazelwood home since 1952. Over the years it has become difficult to keep up with the maintenance on his home. His is one of the homes volunteers with the Home Depot Foundation, Rebuilding Pittsburgh Together and the city’s Sustainable Home Improvement Partnership (SHIP) are repairing.
“First of all, they’re replacing the roof, which really needs done,” Malloy said. “They’re doing a lot of work in the kitchen, they’re doing the floors, the bathroom, there’s a lot of things, but I don’t remember them all.”
Malloy said these are repairs he can’t afford to do on his own, and he can’t afford to move elsewhere.
“This means being able to live in the house,” Malloy said. “Other than that, I couldn’t repair all this and I have no funding to redo the roof, which is an enormous amount of money, and the gutters and all that. So it was either that or they’d tear it down.”
SHIP, in collaboration with local nonprofits, repairs and weatherizes homes of veterans as well as seniors and disabled residents. In addition to keeping people in their homes, another goal is to revitalize neighborhoods, such as Hazelwood where Malloy lives.
“The residents of this community that have been here for years and years have not seen this type of neighborhood investment and I think that is going to be key in continuing to turn Hazelwood around,” said City Councilman Corey O’Connor.
Since starting in 2012, SHIP has repaired and weatherized nearly 150 homes with the help of partner organizations and volunteers.