Home Repair Program Provides Safe Housing in McDowell County

A unique urgent home repair collaborative between Gateway Wellness Foundation and WNC Bridge Foundation is underway in McDowell County. With over 3,000 homeowners in the county reporting cost-burdened housing problems such as a leaky roof or disability inaccessibility, both foundations recognize the importance of combining resources and knowledge to address this overwhelming need.

“Providing resources for safe housing is a strategic priority for our AIM Grant funding this year said Scott Buchanan, President & CEO at WNC Bridge Foundation. “We are honored to partner with Gateway and their efforts to improve the safety and livability for at-risk homes in McDowell County.” Neil Gurney, Executive Director, for Gateway Wellness Foundation notes, “The demand for this type of service is undeniable, and we look forward to working with volunteers and utilizing our existing relationships to make urgent home repairs for our most vulnerable residents.”

The pilot project will assist low-income households living with special circumstances including, senior citizens, disabled individuals, Veterans, single-parent and/or large households, or families with children who have elevated blood lead levels.

A grant of $75,000 from the NC Housing Finance Agency has been matched by an AIM grant from WNC Bridge Foundation, along with additional funding from Gateway for a total of $200,000 to repair or improve housing conditions that pose an imminent threat to the safety of household members. Gateway Foundation will supervise the urgent home repair work and will provide final inspections for all houses in the program.

It is expected that between 30 to 40 houses will receive home repairs as part of this collaborative effort. Both foundations hope to continue to leverage additional funds to meet the overwhelming need after the pilot year.

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Volunteers in McDowell County work to install a new roof as part of the Urgent Home Repair initiative.