Bringing Back The Beauty
“[I live in] a great German architectural designed home,” Verlee said. “But the wear [on it] is something else.”
Verlee has been in her home since 1993. It is, as she says, a beautiful old world charm home, but it is not safe. Her porch is crumbling and rain and snow damaged her garage because of a broken roof. Not only has her garage suffered water damage, but squirrels got into it as well.
“The roof is in such bad shape. Not to mention all the critters…like the squirrels. It looks like it needs help,” Verlee said.
Verlee qualified to get her porch and garage roof repaired through Milwaukee Habitat’s Critical Home Repair Program. In order to qualify, families must own and live in their home, earn below the median area income, and be located in or around the neighborhoods where Habitat has worked. Most often, families who qualify are senior citizens living on a fixed income.
“If you cannot afford to do the upkeep when you are a single homeowner, it doesn’t mean you do not care. It just means that you cannot afford it,” Verlee said. “Everything isn’t equally accessible.”
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s Critical Home Repair program helps local homeowners afford the necessary repairs to keep their homes safe and functional. Verlee is one of a growing number of homeowners who’ve partnered with Milwaukee Habitat to repair their homes. Since 2018, 109 homes have been repaired.
The Critical Home Repair Program makes repairs such as roofing, plumbing, electrical, and more, affordable for local homeowners. The program offers a 0% interest loan on repairs, flexible repayment options, and up to 80% of the loan could be forgiven based on income.
“To be able to qualify brings a lot of joy, pleasure, peace to know these two hurdles are no longer obstacles,” Verlee said. “I am going to have a strong sense of security and pride in homeownership.”
Verlee hopes others can feel that same sense of joy and peace by working with the Critical Home Repair Program.
“[The process] was an ease,” Verlee said. “I will tell everyone I know that could qualify.”
Even before Verlee qualified for the Milwaukee Habitat Critical Home Repair Program, she admired Habitat’s work.
“I knew about Habitat. I’ve watched them go into communities and build communities,” Verlee said. “More importantly, I’ve seen locally how lives have been impacted and changed by Habitat. Families can have decent affordable housing.”