Julia Reyna was in need of assistance to repair her roof, replace the front and back doors, and replace falling sheetrock. She manages her bills with monthly income from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and SNAP (food assistance) however this did not provide her with enough income to pay for additional expenses.
Julia is 67 years old and suffers from arthritis. The condition of her house allowed cold and rain to penetrate. During a visit to the USDA Rural Development office in Amarillo, Julia said that her roof had been severely damaged by hail, wind, and rainstorms that are prevalent in the Texas Panhandle. Due to the roof damage, there was extensive ceiling damage in the utility room and the bedrooms. The sheetrock had fallen from the ceiling in a number of places.
The front and back doors were a major health and safety concern. The back door was comprised of a sheet of plywood fitted roughly into the doorway. The plywood was thin, un-insulated and did not provide an airtight fit. Daylight could be plainly seen at the edges of the plywood. Due to settling of the house the front door could only be completely closed by using force. Once it was closed completely it was very difficult to open.
USDA Rural Development was able to provide Julia with a home improvement grant to fix her roof and doors. The repairs will help significantly by keeping out the elements. The agency is currently working with Panhandle Community Services to help her make other improvements.
USDA has grant funds available to very low income homeowners who are 62 years of age or older. Funds may only be used for repairs or improvements to remove health and safety hazards, or to complete repairs to make the dwelling accessible for household members with disabilities. Other very low income homeowners may be eligible for loan funds carrying a 1 percent interest rate. To find out more about the program click here or contact any USDA Rural Development state or area office.