From Disrepair to a Safe Home

From Disrepair to a Safe Home

Posted on October 16, 2015

For many residents living in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the everyday challenge of balancing a limited household income to meet basic survival needs leaves no room for home maintenance, which results in substandard living conditions. To improve the lives of residents and build healthy homes and communities, Self-Help Enterprises partners with cities and counties in the San Joaquin Valley to identify housing needs, secure funding, and successfully implement housing repair efforts.

Joyce Bruner, a 66-year-old senior citizen who resides in the small, rural community of Armona, participated in Self-Help Enterprises’ Housing Rehabilitation program. After the passing of her husband, Ms. Bruner was unable to keep up with critical home repairs due to her physical limitations and living on a fixed income. Ms. Bruner’s 1,040 square-foot home, where she lives alone, faced extensive repairs including a crumbling foundation, roof sheathing that was not installed properly, walls and cabinets with dry rot, closets without doors, and windows and doors that could not be secured properly to protect her safety while living alone. The home also had old electrical panels and unprotected wires on the exterior wall, which were a fire hazard, and an unfinished floor with uneven areas that were a constant risk for tripping. In addition to the physical issues of the home, Ms. Bruner did not have a proper stove to cook her meals – like the home repairs, this was a purchase that she could not make on her limited income. Rather, she used a microwave and toaster oven, which limited her diet to foods that could be cooked in these appliances.

The exterior of Ms. Bruner’s home before the repairs.
Exposed beams and unsafe nails.
Exposed beams and unsafe nails.






Through the Housing Rehabilitation program, Ms. Bruner qualified for a NeighborWorks® America Safe and Sound Grant and a zero percent interest, deferred payment loans through Self-Help Enterprises’ partnership with Armona/Kings County to make repairs to her home. Interior renovations and repairs to Ms. Bruner’s home included properly framing the interior walls, re-tiling the kitchen and dining room floors, installing a new stove in the kitchen, placing doors on all closets, and installing new cabinets, countertops, and light fixtures. Exterior renovations included removing two trees whose roots were lifting and tearing the sidewalk, replacing the roofing, installing a new electrical panel and outdoor water heater to minimize fire risks, and installing a new fence, curb and gutter, and handicap approach.

Ms. Bruner often worried about living alone in a home where almost every corner presented a potentially dangerous situation. Today, the renovations and repairs allow Ms. Bruner to continue to live independently in a safe and healthy home – the home that contains the memories of her late husband and their life together.

Ms. Bruner's new kitchen, which now includes a stove.
Ms. Bruner’s new kitchen, which now includes a stove.
The exterior of Ms. Bruner's home after the repairs.
The exterior of Ms. Bruner’s home after the repairs.

Recent Comments