Event improves housing for local families
HAZARD, Ky. — Despite the sweltering heat, volunteers from all over Perry County turned out to give a hand up to their friends and neighbors.
The Repair Affair, an annual event held by the Housing Development Alliance (HDA), a nonprofit housing provider, brings together volunteer groups from Perry County businesses, churches, schools, and other organizations to make much needed home repairs requested by local families.
This year, the event took place on Sat., July 20, and involved volunteers working with experienced HDA carpenters at pre-selected work sites.
“This event is special, because it features mountain people helping mountain people,” said Mindy Miller, HDA’s director of development and communications. “In eastern Kentucky, when a neighbor needs help, the whole community shows up to do whatever they can. Our sponsors, donors, and volunteers have all made this day possible.”
Throughout the year, HDA receives funding to build homes and make home repairs; however, Miller explained that the funding is limited by homeowner qualifications and the amount of assistance that can be provided to an individual homeowner.
“In the months leading up to our Repair Affair, we were able to raise over $10,000,” Miller said. “That money is unrestricted funding, which means that we can use those funds to help those people who have fallen into state and federal funding gaps. Without this event, they might not be able to get the repairs they need to make their homes better, safer, more accessible places to live.”
At one home in the community of Clear Fork, a volunteer crew that included students from the Hazard High School football team, helped build a back porch for a woman who had no easy access to the back of her home. For over 20 years, a stack of cement blocks had served as steps from the back door, and just last year, the homeowner, now in her 70s, fell from those steps, couldn’t get back up, and wasn’t discovered for nearly four hours.
“We sure appreciate them being here,” the homeowner said. “God bless them. At least, now, I can get outside.”
The homeowner said she plans to put a chair out on her new porch and sit outside in the cool, summer evenings.
At other locations, volunteers and carpenters painted block and participated in other home improvement projects.
Further volunteer-driven Repair Affair projects will take place in the coming weeks to ensure that all needed home repairs are made for the families selected. The repairs will promote home safety, security, weatherizing, and neighborhood stability.
“This event allows us to help local families who don’t have access to the funding they need to make needed home repairs,” said HDA Executive Director Scott McReynolds. “We want people to be able to take pride in their homes, reside there safely, and have the best possible shelter for themselves and their families.”
For more information about HDA, including volunteer and giving opportunities, visit www.hdahome.org.
Serving Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, and Perry counties, the Housing Development Alliance (HDA) is a 25-year-old nonprofit housing developer that serves as lender, counselor, developer, and contractor for low-income persons in need of housing assistance. We work with multiple organizations within the Federal, State, and Local governments and in the private sector to help individuals break down barriers to access the resources they need to build financial stability in regards to housing.