Giving seniors a helping hand in home repairs

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Two organizations teamed up on Friday to do a bit of heavy labor, for free.

The Albemarle Housing Improvement Project and the Senior Care company, Commonwealth Assisted Living, are helping out seniors who can't afford to fix up their aging homes.

Many seniors are living on fixed incomes, that means even when it comes to small repairs, the price can do a lot of damage.

On Friday, the two groups worked on a home in Albemarle County owned by a 62-year-old senior.

The homeowner says the maintenance around her home has started to pile up.

AHIP's Corbin Breaud says it's even become dangerous.

"The deck was rotting out," said Breaud. "A lot of the structural members were falling down, it was really unsafe to walk up and down for the family that lives here."

Breaud's crew plans to turn that around by replacing sidings, fixing the roof and the porch.

According to AHIP, there is a large need for repairs on senior homes. More than 260 seniors are waiting for repairs in the Charlottesville regional area.

"We have a waiting list they get on and then we prioritize them based on if there are elderly folks in the house," said Breaud. "If there are handicap people living there, we just triage the problems as best we can."

AHIP couldn't do the free repairs alone. Volunteers like Erika Gennari from Commonwealth Assisted Living also got down and dirty.

"We want to make sure they are safe and comfortable and in a good place," said Gennari. "Even if that means not with us and in their own home."

She said there was something even more special about helping out the home owner on Friday that allows a good deed to go along way.

"In order for us to help seniors," said Gennari. "We're helping one caregiver, so she can continue to do her job."

The home will also get a few other repairs including electrical work and energy efficient upgrades, in time for the summer heat.

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