Your donation can be DOUBLED through June 2! 🏡🏡

Helping Seniors Age Safely In Place

November 1, 2023

When your house feels unsafe, you feel unsafe. That is how Phyllis, a 71-year-old Durham resident on a fixed income, felt.

Phyllis has lived in her home for more than 50 years and raised her only daughter there. But as I’m sure you can imagine, after five decades, the home’s warm memories were outweighed by the financial and emotional stress of critical home repairs she couldn’t afford.

Phyllis, outside the home she's owned for 50 years

Phyllis’s daughter would often help with small tasks around her mother’s home, but the projects piled up. Several plumbing leaks over the years caused potentially dangerous mold in the crawlspace. Added to that, safe access in and out of the home was lacking.

Phyllis worried that she had to take out a second mortgage she couldn’t afford – or she wouldn’t be able to age in place as she wanted. So Phyllis turned to Durham Habitat.

To help fix Phyllis’s home, we tapped into our Critical Repairs program. This program provides essential home maintenance support for Durham homeowners who otherwise would not be able to afford the work.

Springing into action, our Critical Repairs team provided safe access in and out of Phyllis’s home by adding handrails to her porch. And the team is in the process of doing mold remediation and plumbing replacement to avoid future mold problems.

With help from generous supporters like you, Habitat for Humanity of Durham was able to give Phyllis’s home the TLC it needed. Now, she can live in a safe, accessible, and healthy Durham home full of warm memories as she ages in place with dignity. In addition, the home repairs provided peace of mind to Phyllis’s daughter, knowing her mother is living safely in the home she loves.

Last year we completed 68 repair projects for neighbors like Phyllis, and the need in our community only continues to grow. Right now, there’s a waiting list of nearly 200 homeowners who require home repairs. The capacity of our Critical Repair program is limited only by the funding—so we need your help!

To help fund the most repairs possible, Susan and Michael Hershfield have offered to match gifts for our Critical Repairs program up to $50,000 through December 31st!

Addressing critical health and safety issues keeps families in their homes, and also preserves the stock of affordable homes in Durham. And with the average repair project costing $10,000— we do all this for much less than it costs to build a new affordable house.

In fact, Durham Habitat is able to target specific areas of need that improve the quality of life in Durham by preventing displacement and maintaining affordable housing in our community. Yet, until we raise the funds, older folks and families will live in unsafe conditions – in poor quality homes, unhealthy with mold, lead, insect infestation, and other safety problems.

Imagine the difference you can make! Phyllis recently shared with us: “Habitat support meant I did not have to get a second mortgage on my home and it has really helped me financially.”

It’s urgent that we get more Durham families off our Critical Repairs wait list and make their homes safe and sound! We can do it with your help!

Will you make a donation to be matched dollar-for-dollar by December 31st? Please don’t let this opportunity pass you by.