It was late fall of 2017 when Eric Taylor first noticed the small yellow circle forming on the ceiling in his foyer. As a disabled veteran with mobility and memory issues, Eric was not able to inspect the damage. He tried to ignore the growing stain because he had more important things to worry about, like his health. In the months leading up to the discovery, Eric was admitted to the hospital when he developed pneumonia. While receiving treatment, doctors discovered a mass the size of a deck of cards on his lung. His medical team acted quickly to resolve the issue and Eric was back home within one month.
Over the holidays, the stain continued to grow and other signs of damage appeared in other areas of his home. He noticed that the shingles on his roof had started to expand and were falling off. Eric’s friendly neighbors came to the rescue by helping secure a tarp over the damaged roof, slowing down the leak for the winter. “The tarp was a live saver for me over the winter, but I knew I had to do something because the larger the stain got, the harder it was for me to breathe. I knew I had to get help soon because the leaky roof was causing me so much stress.”
Eric called 2-1-1 shortly after the holidays and was given the number to the Pierce County Minor Home Repairs Program. He contacted the program manager on February 13th, completed verifications of eligibility on February 20th, and County employees were out to assess the property on March 2nd. Eric was approved as a program participant and construction on his home began on May 14th. His roof was completely fixed just three days later.
Eric couldn’t believe it! “Everyone was so nice to me and they worked so hard! I had no problems getting ahold of anybody from the County, everyone I interacted with was very kind and respectful, and the contractors did outstanding work.” Eric was a carpenter by trade decades ago, but he developed arthritis in his hips that prevented him from completing these repairs on his own. “I just appreciate the service. I can’t thank the County enough. It felt like Christmas!”
The Minor Home Repairs Program is part of the Community Action Division, a segment of Pierce County Human Services that helps residents with home repair, energy assistance, early education, and employment services. In the 2017-2018 program year, Pierce County Minor Home Repair served 106 households with 170 repairs. Most of the repairs are related to leaky roofs and failing water tanks, but they also assist with electrical repairs, heating systems, and home safety additions like bathroom grab bars, deck handrails, and wheelchair ramps. The goal is to improve housing conditions by providing emergency repairs at no cost to qualifying individuals. To qualify, participants must own their home, have an income below 80% Area Median Income (AMI), and reside in Pierce County, but outside the city limits of Tacoma, Lakewood, and Bonney Lake.
Since his roof was fixed, Eric has been on cloud nine. In addition to being able to breathe easier, he now has more to celebrate. Contractors noticed his deck needed improvements when they were inspecting his roof, and he recently learned that he has been approved for this home repair. Construction will start soon and he will be able to enjoy his deck safely before summer is over.
So, what does Eric say his life is like now that the leaky roof is patched and his deck will be repaired? “Every day is like the first day of a love story. I cannot recommend this program enough.”
This story should remind us all that no stain is too big to overcome. Nothing is beyond our reach. We can all believe and achieve!
If you or someone you know may benefit from the Minor Home Repairs program, please contact us at 253-798-4400 (option #2). You can also apply online here.