By Samaritan Health Services staff
Since 1991, Benton Habitat for Humanity has constructed nearly 40 homes and repaired more than 80 others for low-income families in Benton County. Their repair program, which started in 2012, has been part of an intentional shift for Habitat affiliates as costs for new home construction have increased.
Much of the program’s work is with households of aging individuals and people with disabilities. A high percentage of these clients live in older manufactured homes.
“Common issues we see in older homes are the presence of lead and asbestos, mold and mildew, plumbing problems, roof failure, inefficient windows and out-of-date code requirements,” said Daniel Sidder development manager. “Low-income households with aging and/or disabled residents can struggle to deal with these issues.”
Samaritan has been a partner with Benton Habitat for Humanity with Social Accountability grants for their home repair initiative. This project provides critical interior and exterior home repairs for low-income homeowners. The program focus is on individual and families who need additional support due to constraints such as limited income, mobility and aging.
“Knowing that we are helping people live comfortably in their homes is fulfilling for us,” said Sidder. “It’s also a lot or responsibility; partners such as Samaritan invest their time and resources into our relationship. We’re proud of the work we do and are excited to keep offering this program to low-income homeowners in Benton County.”
Restrictions around COVID-19 kept Habitat crews from assisting with repairs early in the pandemic, which caused a growing backlog of projects. Once restrictions loosened Benton Habitat used the donations to hire contractors to resolve more pressing repairs directly impacting safety such as installing ramps and safety bars and repairing roofs.
“Providing safe, decent and affordable housing is at the core of our mission,” said Sidder. “Our staff does this work because we want to help people gain strength and stability in their living situations.”