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Editor’s note: As part of the News + Record’s commitment to the community, we’re partnering with the United Way of Chatham County to help provide insight into the work of the agencies the program helps fund with a series of local agency profiles; information is provided by the agencies in conjunction with the United Way. The United Way relies on donations from individuals and businesses to meet the needs of its member agencies. Please consider a generous gift.
Focus Area: Basic Needs (financial stability)
Name of United Way Supported Program: Safe,healthy home repairs for Chatham homeowners in need
How will RTT use United Way donor dollars?: RTT preserves safe, healthy homes for low-income homeowners in Chatham County. United Way funding supports the costs of providing home repairs, accessibility modifications and health and safety upgrades to these homeowners, most of whom are elderly, disabled, or both. We plan to serve at least 38 homeowners in Chatham County this year.
Why is this program essential to Chatham County?: Safe, affordable housing is one of the most critical needs Chatham County is facing; more than 80 percent of residents responding to a recent survey said housing issues were of serious concern to them. The county leadership, as well as the non-profit sector, and the community at large have indicated that addressing these housing needs will be a priority in the coming years. Together, they are working to address the availability and affordability of rental housing, as well as homes for purchase. There is also strong recognition that the maintenance and preservation of existing, owner-occupied housing stock is essential to a comprehensive housing strategy. RTT works to preserve affordable homeownership through repairs, modifications and home performance upgrades, and we anticipate that the needs for these services will continue to increase this year and into the future. We believe we are well-positioned to support the objectives of Chatham County and the residents who will need assistance.
How does the program make a difference in the community?: We improve the lives of individual homeowners. By providing a safe, healthy home for these vulnerable community members, we preserve their independence and their place in their community. Our homeowners have reported improved mobility, improved respiratory function, lower utility bills, and many other positive changes to their quality of life on a daily basis.
Our work can make demonstrated improvements in community health outcomes. The U.S. Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons are just a few of the organizations who have endorsed many of the repairs and modifications RTT utilizes as effective mitigation strategies for public health challenges that range from falls in the home to common asthma triggers.
We bring communities together to support one another. Volunteers from all walks of life and businesses from every sector of the economy stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our homeowners, working to provide a safe, healthy home for every homeowner in Chatham County.
Please share a story about a Chatham resident this program helped and the impact it made: Teresa had lived in her Pittsboro home for decades, but her health and home began gradually deteriorating. On dialysis three days a week, Teresa spent the rest of her time caring for her grandchildren. This left little opportunity — not to mention resources — for home repairs. Years of damage from moisture and termites took its toll, causing the subfloor to collapse in Teresa’s bedrooms. For years, she had to sleep in her living room chair. Her front door had buckled so badly it could not be closed. No matter how severe the weather, she relied on space heaters and a window unit for heating and cooling. With help from Chatham County, Chatham County United Way, Central Piedmont Community Action, 3M, and Chatham Community Church, we completely transformed her home. Now Teresa and her grandchildren finally can live safely and comfortably again.