Housing Rehabilitation Program Helps Senior Age in Place

Housing Rehabilitation Program Helps Senior Age in Place

Posted on January 26, 2018

For Maria Arias, a 71-year-old senior citizen who resides in the small, rural community of Orange Cove, the answer to her housing dilemma came as part of the City of Orange Cove Housing Rehabilitation program.

Ms. Arias was unable to keep up with the much-needed home repairs due to her physical limitations and living on a fixed income. Ms. Arias’ 624-square-foot home faced extensive repairs. The exterior and interior of the home had cracked walls that let air seep through. The home also had cracked exterior siding, sagging roof rafters, rusted cast iron drain plumbing that was leaking under the house, clogged drain lines from rust build up and tree roots, and exposed electrical lines that caused a fire hazard. In addition, the backyard would flood due to faulty grade level and the foundation was cracked from standing water along the perimeter and lack of proper footings. The 7-foot interior ceilings were sagging due to over spanned lumber and the attic did not have proper insulation. The exterior wood windows leaked air, had dry rot damage and most windows were nailed shut. The kitchen stove and space heaters were used as a heat source that only kept the living room area warm.

In the kitchen, the cabinets had water damage throughout, missing doors, and broken drawer hardware. The lack of a range hood had caused walls, ceilings, and cabinets to become greasy and unhealthy. The flooring throughout was cracked, worn through, and had long exceeded its product life. In the bathroom, the walls, and ceilings were covered with mildew due to the lack of heat and ventilation. The metal shower stall was a free-standing unit, in the middle of the room, and was never installed properly. The shower and toilet units were leaking, causing major damage to the floor and subfloor. The steps for the exterior doors lacked proper landings and the concrete was deteriorated making them unsafe.

While seeking assistance for her home, Ms. Arias was connected to Self-Help Enterprises by the City of Orange Cove. The Housing Rehabilitation program, administered by Self-Help Enterprises, works to preserve existing homes, improve housing conditions, and assists homeowners to make critical repairs. Improvements focus on health and safety repairs, while also making the homes more energy-efficient. Through the program, Ms. Arias qualified for a HOME Grant and a zero-percent interest, deferred loan. The grants finance loans for low- to moderate-income homeowners to repair their owner-occupied homes using licensed contractors. No payment is due unless the home is sold, there is a change of primary residence or a transfer of the property title.

Because the home needed extensive repairs, Ms. Aria’s home was rebuilt from the ground up. Today, Ms. Arias’ new 1,075-square-foot home has enhanced accessibility that allows her to remain in her home and age in place. A special memento from her father is proudly displayed in Ms. Arias’ new home. Her father, Army Private Pedro Cano, who served in World War II, was among 24 Army veterans who were awarded the Medal of Honor. In 2014, President Barack Obama presented the medal posthumously for Sgt. Cano’s heroism during a battle in Germany’s Hurtgen Forest.

To date, Self-Help Enterprises has worked with cities and counties to improve 6,475 homes in the San Joaquin Valley.

Interested households may visit the Housing Rehabilitation webpage or contact Self-Help Enterprises at (559) 651-1000 for more information.

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