When squirrels started wreaking havoc in her attic this winter, Janet could not afford to solve the problem on her own.
The 66-year-old St. Charles senior lives on a fixed income, and home repairs are not in her budget.
“I live in double-wide mobile home, and it was windy earlier this year,” Janet explained. “Wind blew off part of my mobile home, and squirrels got inside the space between the roof and the top of my house.”
Calling a pest company to take care of the squirrel problem was not feasible for her, she said.
“I’m a senior and I live on a certain income. I don’t have a credit card,” she explained. “I’m sure there are a lot of people like me. If something comes up, what do you do?”
For seniors and others throughout St. Charles County, the answer often is Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Service. The nonprofit’s housing assistance program – Repairing Homes Restoring Hope (RHRH) – helps low-income families who are in need of home repair.
The RHRH program currently has funding to assist seniors in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties with home repairs. To qualify for the program, seniors must own their own home or mobile home. Their household income cannot be more than 50 percent of the area median income level. For example, the income for a one-person household cannot exceed $23,485, and for a two-person household cannot exceed $26,840.
The Care Service also has window air conditioners available to low-income seniors who are Ameren Missouri customers.
“A lot of the need is among seniors, especially widows,” said Miriam Mahan, executive director for Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Service. “They are on the brink of losing their homes because they can’t maintain their properties.”
“What’s neat about the program is that we’re able to partner with churches of all denominations. We all come together to prevent homelessness (by providing) home repairs.”
The program also helps maintain the community, thereby improving its quality of life and property values, Mahan said.
The RHRH Program not only assisted Janet by ridding her trailer of squirrels, but also helped unclog her sink, vent her dryer and fix her air conditioning. Additionally, Janet’s home has been power-washed, its unsafe deck has been repaired and painted, and a new lock has been installed on her back door. Janet also participates in the food pantry at the Care Service, which also has helped pay her electric bills.
“I don’t know what I would have done (without Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Service),” Janet said. “I don’t have any extra kind of money.”
Mahan said there is a significant need in the community for a program like RHRH. Since its inception in 1998, she said the program has helped hundreds of families.
“They are wonderful people, everyone that I have ever talked to,” Janet said. (They have) been a blessing to me.”
For more information about the RHRH program, or Sts. Joachim &Ann Care Service, call Sandy at (636) 441-1302, ext. 228.