Ashe County Habitat for Humanity’s first project under its new initiative, A Brush With Kindness (ABWK), was started and completed on Saturday April 20th. The ABWK program provides an opportunity for low income homeowners in Ashe County to apply for help in repairing or maintaining the exterior of their homes.
Adhering to Habitat’s philosophy of providing a hand up, not a hand-out, homeowners will repay Habitat with a modest monthly payment to cover the cost of the building materials. Also a part of the ‘the Habitat way,’ the repayment amount will include no profit and no interest, and all work will be completed by volunteers.
On Saturday, five hearty volunteers braved the wind and chilly temperatures at the beginning of the day to complete work on the roof of a manufactured home just off of Mulatto Mountain Road. The front half of the roof had been replaced at some point, but the backside was not done at the time and was in disrepair.
The volunteers stripped off the old shingles and the tarpaper in the morning, and got to work on installing new underlayment and shingles after a short lunch break. The work was completed and the jobsite left spotless by 5:30 p.m..
The home belongs to a 46-year-old Ashe County native, Peggy, who is disabled. Peggy previously worked for a home care agency, sitting with and helping care for the sick and elderly.
Peggy suffers from seizures and is unable to work or drive. She is a quiet woman who lives by herself. “It’s just me and my dog and my bird,” she said.
Peggy said she probably would have had to borrow a lot of money to repair her roof if it has not been for Habitat’s ABWK program. “I’m real grateful,” she said. She was beginning to worry that the backside of her roof would start leaking soon.
Peggy’s mother encouraged her to apply for the program, and she thinks her Mom heard about it on Ashe County’s radio station, 580 WKSK. Peggy had gotten an estimate to have her roof repaired a while back, but it was beyond her means at $2,000 - $3,000. Habitat is completing the project at about one-third of the cost, and providing Peggy the opportunity to repay the amount over a three-year period, if needed.
By focusing on exterior repairs that take only a day or two to complete, a Brush With Kindness meets the home improvement needs of many families in the community, said Ashe Habitat’s President, Bill Wheeler. “We’re doing it because it enables us to serve more people, whereas (building a house) takes a year.”
Habitat has plans to work on at least five more homes in the coming months, he said.
Each project should take just one or two days, and most work will be completed on Saturdays. ABWK work will continue approximately every other week. No special skills or experience are required. Various tasks need to be completed on each project, from cleanup to digging, from nailing to painting and roofing. Volunteers from 16 to 96 are welcome!
To volunteer for future workdays, call 846-2525 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.