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I'm cooking dinner and realizing that I touch my eyes and nose far more than I should. Far more than I should while cooking. And far more than I should at any time, frankly. You'd think I'd learn to handle jalapeños. But no. This is my future.
I like the New York city bus system. Well, not really. Like is far too strong a word. But after getting trapped on the subway in the morning for what seemed like hours and then jumping into an oven car in the evening, I need another option. So yes, I love the bus system. And each time that it stops and lets another super slow senior citizen climb aboard I try to refocus my impatience into gratefulness that there is a public transit system you can use even if stairs prove difficult - which is often the case for seniors.
Last year I wrote about H.O.M.E.'s bussing service that provides transportation services to grocery stores and pharmacies. And I will probably tell you about that again soon. It is a great service. But it is only one of many that H.O.M.E. provides for some of Chicago's most vulnerable residents. Right now I want to tell you about their home repair services.
I am not particularly handy. My last "repair" was more of a destroy job. In fact, that is exactly what it was. I was dripping with sweat as it was a sticky 97 degrees in my apartment. Fed up with the heat and the window bars that blocked the installation of my window unit I pulled out my trusty hacksaw. Trusty isn't the right word as I had never used it before (not handy, remember). After about 30 minutes, some serious cramping, and a peppering of bad words, I had successfully cut through the ten bars. Home improved. All that was left was to explain it to the landlord.
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Yet, past such destructive improvements I have to rely on the help of professionals. And professionals cost money. And here lies the problem for many low-income senior citizens. They do not have the resources to keep up with the ever increasing maintenance costs of their homes. Serious issues are left unaddressed. Having the furnace go out during winter is a real emergency. Not being able to fit safety bars in the bathroom is dangerous.
H.O.M.E.'s upkeep and repair services is available to those who have an income below the federal poverty level. As you can imagine, paying full price for a repairman isn't on the table when you are just keeping afloat. In fact, 68% of H.O.M.E.'s clients said that they would have had to go without the repairs if H.O.M.E. had not provided them.
At the moment there is so much demand for service that H.O.M.E. has a four month waiting list. They prioritize "emergency repairs" which often center around plumbing issues as these can often become extensive problems if left unattended. Even with the long waits the request keep coming in because for most of their clients there are just no other options.
Sometimes when a company realizes they have you - when demand is super high - their customer service goes down hill. Time Warner Cable, if you think this is a veiled reference to you, you're wrong. There is no veil. And while the "professional" "handy" man my landlord hires probably costs a ridiculous amount his work is almost as good as mine. When the front door started drooping so much that the dead bolt wouldn't lock he didn't rehang the door. Instead, he took a hammer and chisel and beat a new hole into the frame. Home improved indeed.
Perhaps you would think that H.O.M.E. could fall into these traps. But they have not. They are not in this business for the money. They aren't even here for the glory and fame. They want to provide vulnerable, low-income seniors in their city with safe and secure homes to live in. It is that simple. They are here to help others. And that philosophy permeates their culture at all levels. As one of their clients said, "They are trustworthy. I feel freedom when H.O.M.E. comes in to work for me."
Will you partner with H.O.M.E.? These services cost money and H.O.M.E. runs on donations, donations like yours and mine. Without our help H.O.M.E. would not be able to keep going. Make a big difference in someone's life, donate today! Or choose to use the donation multiplier and make it even bigger! Don't forget to write in "marathon" in the "note" section.
To read real stories about real clients served by H.O.M.E.'s upkeep and repair read this entry of their blog!
PS. With a great post title like this you were probably thinking this was about my knees and shins. Boy were you wrong. That said, I think I need to find some ice, do some stretches and go to bed. Sleeping is my favorite repair.
PPS. I feel "freedom" when our handyman is around the apartment. Yes, I feel just how free I am to listen to his jolly, and loud, Christmas music in July. So free.
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