Chattanooga program helps people keep roof on their home

Chattanooga program helps people keep roof on their home

June 20th, 2013 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

LaDonald Bryant sits on his porch under his new roof Wednesday. The Chattanooga Community Housing Development Organization is accepting applications for roof replacements for people with limited incomes.

Photo by C. B. Schmelter/Times Free Press.

TO GET HELP

For a Chattanooga Community Housing Development Organization roof replacement application, call 423-668-9804.

LaDonald Bryant's roof leaked so badly that it caved in, letting water and dirt stream into his bedroom. Almost nothing was salvageable - bed, cloths and furniture all destroyed.

The 72-year-old disabled widower had no money for repairs. Then he heard about the Chattanooga Community Housing Development Organization's roof replacement program.

"The roof speaks for itself," Bryant said after getting his new roof. "I am very proud of it."

Bryant is among 17 homeowners who had their roofs replaced in 2012. This year the housing development organization plans to repair up to 25 roofs through its roof replacement program.

Roofs in 2012 cost from $3,000 to $8,000 to replace, said Roya Evans, the organization's president and executive director.

Funding for the program increased from $110,000 in 2012 to $130,000 this year.

"There is such a great need out there," Evans said.

Sandra Gober, the city's community development director, said the organization likely won't have enough funding to meet the demand.

"Although the organization was able to serve 17 homeowners [in 2012], they had over 100 calls for assistance," Gober said.

All homeowners who apply must have low incomes. A family of four can earn up to $46,000 a year and still qualify.

Preference will be given to people who are age 65 and older and those with health issues, Evans said.

Bryant said he was in and out of hospital because the moisture and dirt that got into his house aggravated his lung disease. He has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"It seemed like it exacerbated everything wrong," he said. "If I had a little cough, it was tripled, nose running, sickness of the stomach."

Water leaked in his house for six months before the roof finally caved in.

The water smelled putrid, Bryant said.

Evans expects to start roof inspections in mid-July, with repairs and replacements beginning in late August, she said.

She hopes that replacing some roofs will lead to more home improvements in neighborhoods. Repairing one house on a block sometimes prompts other homeowners to pay more attention to their homes, Evans said.

People who qualify for a roof but are not helped this summer will be put on a waiting list for assistance when more funding becomes available said Evans.

Jonathan Dixon, president of Innovative Construction and Remodeling LLC., said replacing a roof can keep a family from being homeless.

"If the roof goes, the house goes," Dixon said. "The roof is the life of the house."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6431.