They’ve roofed houses together. Repaired rotted floors and subfloors. Installed hundreds of grab bars. It’s a partnership that has helped numerous seniors, and one that’s lasted for almost 20 years. For Friends of Gwinnett Seniors’ Gary Galloway, partnering with Home Repairs Ministries has been a win/win.
“Years ago, when I worked for Gwinnett County Senior Services, our volunteers who delivered meals to seniors started noticing that many of them needed meals delivered because they couldn’t reliably prepare meals for themselves,” said Gary Galloway. “Then we also realized, if they can’t prepare meals, they probably can’t do home repairs. So we thought, if we can get volunteers to do repairs then we could help seniors avoid falls, code violations, liens on their homes and so much more.”
Along came Home Repairs Ministries. Galloway quickly realized the nonprofit was a natural fit for what needed to be accomplished.
“Friends of Gwinnett Seniors has been able to provide materials for Home Repairs and pay for professional services, such as licensed electricians and more as necessary, so that we don’t have amatuers attempting that work,” Galloway said.
“Then, when the opportunity came along for our organizations to install grab bars together, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia and one from FEMA that allowed us to partner with Gwinnett County Fire Services’s SeniorBSafe program, we were able to provide another very needed service.”
Sometimes Galloway and Home Repairs’ own executive director Mark Wolfe are asked why they don’t expand beyond Gwinnett.
“Most people don’t realize Gwinnett has one of the largest senior populations in the entire state – it’s actually the second largest and in the not-too-distant future will probably be the largest,” Galloway said. “So we have many homes that people have been in for a considerable period of time and they’re now dealing with home issues related to aging, just like they are with their health.
“I’ve seen a number of 80-some-year-old widows with a disabled 60-something son living out of their car because they were evicted or foreclosed on. But I also see an equal number of people who are still in their homes, thanks to Home Repairs Ministries.”
As Galloway puts it, partnering with Home Repairs fits with his mantra of “leverage the resources to manage the outcomes”.
“Mark and I talk about this all the time because we’re relying on donors and grants and gifts,” Galloway said. “We are independent nonprofits dealing with a population on fixed incomes, for the most part, and limited physical ability. So we have to do what we can do. And with a growing senior adult population we need more help and collaboration than ever before.”
Want to know how you can help? From donations to volunteers, there are several ways to get involved. You can give online at homerepairs.org or call or email us at email@example.com or 404-919-5871 about other opportunities.