Springfield is an affordable place to live, but residents can't take advantage of that if their property needs repaired, Kerri Brammer says.
When homeowners can't afford repairs, the value of the house can go down, and the house can eventually become vacant. It's a spiral, says Brammer, who is the HomeOwnership Center manager at the Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield
The goal of the emergency home repair program offered by NHP is to prevent that spiral. NHP has overseen almost 400 repairs since the organization began in 2002, Brammer says.
“Home preservation has always been one of our core services,” she says.
Depending on household income, repair costs could be covered by grants, if funding is available, or by low-interest loans that range from 1 percent to 5 percent interest, Brammer says. NHP's program helps with both emergency repairs and with modifications for senior homeowners who want to age in place. The organization funds an average of 25 projects per year.
Leaking roofs that need replaced are the most common need NHP currently sees, she says, and also the most expensive. Other top needs include electrical and plumbing repairs.
Older homeowners might request different types of assistance to allow them to remain living in their homes, such as the renovation of a bathroom or the installation of a ramp or grab bars.
Applications for repairs are encouraged from residents of both Springfield and Clark County, Brammer says. The NHP repair program is specifically for owner-occupied, single-family homes.
Since January 2020, about $236,000 in loans and grants have been provided to assist homeowners with needed home repairs, she says.
Repairs are completed by licensed contractors under the supervision of a full-time project manager, and the oversight process includes a health and safety home inspection, Brammer says. All projects are put out to competitive bid to find the best price. Homeowners also receive a warranty for materials and labor.
“We're really trying to protect the homeowner, which is particularly critical in light of increased scam activity,” she says.
NHP receives most of its repair inquiries through word-of-mouth referrals, and repairs are completed year round, based on funding and weather. The number of local repairs could easily double if NHP had additional funding, Brammer says.
“We know there's a need,” she says.