Veteran services

Monson veteran praises organizations for home repairs

MONSON – A recent collaboration between Purple Heart Homes (PHH) and Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) restored the residence of a military veteran and his family.

PHH is a veterans service agency that focuses on housing solutions. Although based in North Carolina, PHH serves veterans nationwide.

GSHFH is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that helps low-income families in Hampden County improve their lives through homeownership and home repair opportunities, their service manager explained to the family, Deborah O’Mara.

Peter Wiggins, a retired Army National Guard staff sergeant and his wife, Beth, bought a duplex in Monson three years ago. The couple occupy one unit, while Beth’s daughter and grandson live in the other. According to O’Mara, both units needed repairs.

In the fall of 2021, O’Mara said PHH contacted Habitat and informed them of the needs of the Wiggins family. She described their case as “extensive”.

While GSHFH’s home preservation program provides micro-loans to eligible homeowners, O’Mara said they visited the Monson home for an inspection of three problem areas, including a moss-spotted roof, a broken water heater in the daughter’s unit and damaged exterior doors. to both accommodations. After the assessment was complete and they spoke with the Wiggins family, O’Mara said, “We found them qualified.”

In this case, Habitat acted as the general contractor and hired three separate contractors to work on the three different projects. “Purple Heart Homes has funded the project very generously,” O’Mara said.
“We finished everything in four months,” she continued. “It took a long time to finish”, due to the lack of material, a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, O’Mara said they ordered the doors around November and didn’t arrive until March.

O’Mara said, “The [Wiggins] the family has been very patient,” but they are happy that their home preservation project is now complete. Wiggins said, “My house used to look like ‘Amityville Horror’ house but now it sparkles like Disneyland.” Now that the moss that once covered the roof and front steps is gone, he said the organizations have done “an excellent job, worthy of praise and congratulations”.

When GSHFH helps a family repair their home, O’Mara said they usually ask for a small contribution from the family based on affordability. She explained that their level of affordability is determined by a review of the owner’s finances. Once a contribution is made, the money goes to GSHFH, to pay the contractors and subcontractors they have hired for the project.

Depending on the home and its repair needs, O’Mara said prices vary. “What people need can vary from a roof, to new flooring, to avoid tripping, new bathrooms,” and more. For example, she said accessibility modifications can cost between $20,000 and $30,000.

Although this isn’t the first time PHH and GSHFH have worked together, O’Mara said, “It was great working with Purple Heart Homes and I look forward to working with them in the future.

For more information about Purple Heart Homes, visit https://purplehearthomesusa.org/ Additional information about Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity can be found on their website at https://www.habitatspringfield.org/.