Maria no longer felt safe in her own home, where she lives with her daughter, Margarita, in rural Malheur County in eastern Oregon. Wind blew in through the cracks around the windows, and water leaked through the roof. But with her low monthly income, Maria could not afford repairs. She was stressed, unsure what to do, and imagined the house might simply fall apart around them while they slept.
A friend suggested they talk to Community in Action, and Maria learned she qualified for assistance from the nonprofit, which had recently received a Housing Preservation Grant from USDA Rural Development to expand their assistance to low-income residents to help make critical repairs to their homes. Marie was one of six residents in Malheur County to receive a grant from Community in Action supported by this USDA program to cover the costs of her home’s maintenance needs.
With this financial assistance, Maria was able to replace her windows and install a new metal roof. Then, midway through construction, the home’s sewer system backed up into the shower and sinks. She and her daughter had to use a neighbor’s bathroom, which was especially difficult for Maria, who uses a walker. When Community in Action learned of the problem, they stepped in and repaired the plumbing as well, still at no cost to the homeowner.
“Without the USDA program, I don’t know what we would have done,” said Maria. “And Community in Action was great to work with.”
The repairs are even saving her money. With the new windows providing improved weatherization, her energy bill was significantly lower this past winter.
“Now I don’t have to worry about drafts coming in all the windows,” said Maria, “and I don’t have to worry about the roof leaking.”
Maria and Margarita now feel safe in their own home. Without the constant stress of knowing the house needed repairs that were too costly, they are enjoying their daily lives again and happy to know they can stay in their home.