Renewals of two major grants for SEVCA’s Emergency Home Repair Program (EHRP)—the USDA’s Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) and a grant from The Thomas Thompson Trust—will help ensure the program’s viability and provide assistance to an estimated 30-40 homes over the coming year. SEVCA was awarded $26,000 from HPG and $10,000 from the Thompson Trust.
EHRP provides and facilitates emergency home repairs for low-income residents of Windham and Windsor Counties, to enable them to address unsafe, unhealthy, and substandard conditions in their homes. EHRP primarily focuses on small-scale emergency repairs of up to $2,000 for households who don’t qualify for or can’t afford to participate in housing rehab loan programs, have an urgent need not met by other programs, or need additional funds beyond what they are able to borrow. By providing the needed repairs quickly and cost-effectively, EHRP enables recipients to stay in their homes, ensures the safety and health of their families, and allows them to focus their scarce resources on other basic needs.
EHRP was designed to respond to a critical need that SEVCA identified through its experience in working with area residents. SEVCA’s Family Services staff commonly encounter low-income homeowners struggling to pay monthly expenses—mortgage, heat and electricity, food, healthcare, etc.—leaving them with nothing to invest in keeping their homes habitable. And SEVCA’s Weatherization staff see firsthand the substandard housing conditions many residents live in; yet too often, they are unable to provide Weatherization assistance, which would stem energy waste and reduce energy costs, due to the unacceptable condition of the ‘building envelope.’ SEVCA’s 2015 Community Assessment survey reinforced the need for the program, with 80% of the homeowners surveyed saying that they had major repair needs in their homes that they were unable to address.