Safe and Independent
WARM has restored and repaired more than 600 homes over the years, but 120 people still fill a waiting list. The demand for help, says Lyle, just continues to grow.
In North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Housing Coalition, one in five homes is substandard. Nearly 9,000 households go without heat in the winter. And more than 13,000 homes don’t have indoor plumbing.
Living in those conditions can compromise the health of every family member. AARP research shows that the leading cause of death from injury among older adults is from falls, and one-third of those falls occur because of unsafe conditions in the home. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study found that 40 percent of diagnosed asthma in children is caused by exposure to mold, mildew or other hazards in the home.
Lyle remembers working in one home where tape on the carpet showed the children where they shouldn’t step. The subfloor was so rotten, they had to worry about falling through. Another home lacked wheelchair accessibility, which meant the elderly resident had to rely on friends and family to help her use the bathroom.
Through WARM, crews repair roofs and siding, flooring and sheetrock, plumbing and windows. They build wheelchair ramps and replace doors. They make rickety stairs sturdy. To qualify for assistance, household income must be 50 percent below the median for the county, and the home must be owner-occupied.
“The people we help have managed their money well enough to have their home as an asset,” Lyle says. “Some of them are elderly. Some of them are struggling single-parent families that have come across a barrier to self-sufficiency. We provide a little boost so they can continue to be safe and independent.”
‘Blood, Sweat, Hammering’
With a background in real estate, Lyle joined WARM as a volunteer board member before becoming the organization’s full-time leader in 2009. In her time as executive director, WARM has increased its budget and scope. Last year, the organization worked on 81 homes with the help of more than 700 volunteers.
The average cost of repairs is $3,500 to $4,000 – but the benefits are priceless. Dozens of notes taped to Lyle’s door remind her of that every morning.
To all who came and helped build my ramp… words cannot express just how thankful I am. I felt so trapped and you were angels that set me free!!
My life has been richly increased.
I am so thankful and grateful and appreciative for all the blood, sweat, hammering, nailing, plumbing and all that went into making my “tin can” a safer, more productive place to live.
Now I have no anxiety or fear when I go to my doctor’s appointments. God bless you all.
At her mobile home, Yvonne Vinson agrees. “This was a blessing,” she says, looking around her living room. “It has made all the difference in the world.”
Find more information about WARM or call 910.399.7563.