Emergency Home Repair Fund  --   Safe Homes
A single father with three children had his furnace condemned. He was on waiting lists for help, but kept hearing that help would be months away. He had an electric heater he was using in the living room where they were all sleeping. He had to turn it off at night in case one of the children knocked it over, but in the dead of winter not having heat at night was life threatening. He was given an old wood stove to use but the chimney had deteriorated over the years and it was not safe to use without a liner. With the severe cold, he needed to get heat into his home immediately for the safety of his children. He needed $850, but he did not have any savings. He tried a loan, but had bad credit. He went to the town for assistance, but was over income for any help. He was afraid they would be forced to go to a shelter.

Due to Maine’s aging housing stock, there are a large number of homes with outdated heating systems, inadequate plumbing and/or electrical systems, poor insulation, structural decay, and inadequate accessibility design. Yet, they are what often provide affordable housing for our low income citizens. While housing issues threaten to force some out of their homes, they can also cause people to be prisoners inside their homes. Individuals who become disabled as a result of an accident or sudden illness are often discharged from the hospital and go home to a house that is inaccessible to them. Simply going in and outside of the house or using a bathroom suddenly becomes a significant obstacle to daily living. Modifications such as ramps, handrails, larger doorways and lower countertops can allow the person to remain in their home and not face moving to an assisted living facility.

Donations are used to address only the most pressing health/safety related emergencies where immediate action is needed. Examples include severe roof leaks, no heat situations when no other funds are available, damage to a home caused by falling trees, windstorm, fire, ice, etc. that render the home uninhabitable, structural failures, severe plumbing leaks, backed up sewage pipes/septic systems, and electrical systems causing shocks or threat of fire.

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