MATTHEWS – Known for rallying the community around building homes, the Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity sees an opportunity to expand its programming to offer critical home repairs.
The program will not only extend the life of homes, but could also lead to more affordable housing in Matthews.
The Matthews Planning Board launched a committee last year to explore the need for affordable housing in town. The committee learned that 3,200 of the 12,100 total homes and apartments in Matthews were valued under $200,000. Of those, 68 percent of them were more than 30 years old.
Natisha Rivera-Patrick, executive director for Greater Matthews Habitat, served on that affordable housing committee.
“There are certainly folks with limited income that have these needs,” she said. “We want to make sure their homes are safer, drier and warmer in order for them to age in place and continue to live in what is affordable for them.”
The nonprofit’s Critical Home Repair program will provide free assistance to qualified low-income residents whose homes need repairs that are affecting the health or safety of their families. Repairs may involve roofing, flooring, plumbing, accessibility, electricity and insect extermination.
The program is open to Matthews residents that own the home, are up-to-date on taxes and payments and meet income guidelines.
Rivera-Patrick is participating in a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Brace Family YMCA. It’s part of a community forum series organized by Matthews churches.
Rivera-Patrick hopes to convey to those attending that forum that there are some immediate solutions and some answers that will take planning, time and resources. She hopes to form partnerships that create win-wins – not just talk, but action.
“It’s not just housing. It’s the livable wage,” she said. “There’s so many different factors that influence the affordability for these homes, so we are one piece of that pie. But I want to make sure we are partnering to a point where we have the greatest impact and truly be the premier provider of affordable housing in our service area. For us, that is Matthews, Mint Hill and the Mecklenburg County side of Stallings.”
Want to apply?
Download an application at www.greatermatthewshab itat.org/criticalhomerepair or pick one up Tuesday to Saturday at the Greater Matthews Habitat ReStore, 2447 E. John St., Matthews. Contact Jeffrey Elam, homeowner services coordinator at email@example.com or by calling 704-847-4266, ext. 108 for details.