Community Action Helps Senior Citizens Remain in their Own Homes

The Scioto County Community Action Organization (CAO) Social Service Department received a call from Area Agency on Aging, District 7 on April 29.  The Passport case manager stated she had a consumer that needed repairs on a block foundation for a trailer.  She said the consumer was 69 years old, in a wheelchair, her trailer was an older model and the block foundation was not a permanent foundation, but stacked blocks. The foundation blocks settled or shifted over the years to the point the trailer was in danger of falling. As with most seniors, the consumer was not willing to move to an apartment or other household because the trailer and land was her home and she had lived on the property her entire life.

Later that day, the Community Action Organization received a call from Scioto County Department of Job and Family Services, Adult Protective Services, regarding the same consumer. They also asked if CAO could assist with the foundation because of the unsafe conditions. Both agencies stated the repairs needed to be made as soon as possible because the trailer was in eminent danger of falling.

The CAO told both agencies their resources were limited, but would see if they could help find a solution to the problem. The first phone calls were made to see who was certified and licensed to do such repairs, and who could give an estimate. CAO found one business that agreed to go out quickly and see what would be required to make the repairs. The estimate to make the needed repairs was $2,000. This included costs for state required trailer anchors and ABS pads for the foundation blocks. The gentleman providing the estimate stated the person living there should not be allowed to stay in the trailer because of the unsafe conditions. He said he had no idea what was currently holding the trailer and it was in danger of falling at any moment. He observed a kerosene tank that he felt was endangered if the trailer fell. He also stated an electrical fire was possible because the trailer had moved and was putting stress on the main electric line attached to it. These dangers, combined with the fact that the consumer was in a wheelchair, made this request for assistance a priority for the Social Service Staff.

The amount of the estimate was beyond any pledge CAO could make on their own, but because of the danger, the Social Service Department employees immediately began asking other agencies and churches to join in assisting with the repairs. After many phone calls, six other agencies agreed to help. Partners that assisted with the cost of the foundation repairs were Area Agency on Aging – District 7, Potters House Ministries, All Saints Episcopal Church, Second Presbyterian Church, Our Lady of Sorrow, and Catholic Social Services.

Work on the foundation was completed on May 18. CAO Weatherization staff assisted with door adjustments that were needed after the trailer was leveled. The Passport case manager is now working on obtaining resources to get insulated skirting for the trailer installed and the family is assisting with drainage issues around the home’s perimeter. The consumer stated she knew it was not safe to remain in the trailer, but she was determined to stay in her own home as long as she could, regardless of the consequences. She has expressed her gratitude to staff on many occasions since the repairs have been completed and she is happy that she has been able to remain at home.

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.