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Gateway Wellness Foundation starts home repair program for McDowell County
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Mission-minded churches ready to help

Gateway Wellness Foundation starts home repair program for McDowell County

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Gateway Wellness Foundation starts home repair program for McDowell County

This photo shows the Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church team building a ramp.

Have you ever driven by an old, dilapidated home and been surprised to see a family lives there? Have you ever wondered what life is like, living in that house?

Compared to the rest of the country, more McDowell County residents own their own homes (71.8%), more McDowell County homes are 50 years old or older (47%), and more residents live below the poverty line (17.1%). While ours is a vibrant, thriving community, it is also true that many McDowell County residents live in aging homes that are in need of repair, and yet the household lacks the resources to address these urgent needs, according to a news release.

The result is that the beloved family home can become a dangerous place to live. Rotting, collapsing floors or roofs, missing doors or windows, holes in walls and damaged plumbing are the daily reality for some of our friends and neighbors, and these conditions shape the lives of the families who live in them. It is especially dangerous for senior citizens, who may have lived their entire lives in the same home and are now unable to fix problems that have been developing for years.

Many counties in western North Carolina are home to one or more nonprofits dedicated to addressing critically needed repairs for low-income homeowners, but currently there is no such organization in McDowell County.

Fortunately, the county is home to many mission-minded churches that have, through the years, served homeowners in need through ramp ministries, roofing ministries and other home repair programs. Recently, many of these churches met together with Gateway Wellness Foundation to discuss a partnership, whereby Gateway will provide the funds to purchase building materials and any necessary professional labor. To keep labor costs, down local churches and other community groups will provide volunteers to do the repairs.

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The meeting was made up of multiple churches from various denominations across McDowell County. Along with Gateway Wellness Foundation, they discussed the ways in which joining in the common mission of home repair just makes sense.

Norman Guthrie, Gateway Wellness Foundation’s board chairman, agrees that leveraging the county’s existing assets will have great results.

“By capitalizing on the home repair programs already in place in many churches, adding to that ready volunteers from churches that may not have such a program in the works, and backing it with funding for materials and professional labor from Gateway, McDowell County will be well served by a partnership made up of many separate organizations that have the same goal in mind — to help those who need it,” he said.

The Home Repair Partnership is slated to begin its work making urgently needed repairs for low income, elderly, and disabled community members beginning this June. In the meantime, Gateway Wellness Foundation is offering a dollar-for-dollar match up to $50,000, for all donations to the Partnership, according to the news release.

If you believe that everyone should have a safe place to call home and would like to help your neighbors in need by making a donation, please visit www.gatewaywellnessfoundation.org and click on Donate to Home Repair at the top of the page.

You may also write a check made out to Gateway Wellness Foundation, with “Home Repair” in the memo, and send to Gateway Wellness Foundation, 135 S. Main St., Marion, NC 28752.

If you are or your church is interested in getting involved in the program, email Angela Anderson at a.anderson@gatewaywf.org.

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