“Many people applied but didn’t qualify,” said Juanita Freudiger, office manager for the Economic Development Foundation, which applied through the county for the grant. “You had to have your taxes paid up and be owner of the home, plus there were income limits.”
The work is now complete at all the homes and living conditions are improved.
“This has been a blessing, and an absolute benefit to my health,” said Sandra Ritchie. “On my pension, there’s no way I could have done this.”
Under the grant, rotten wood on Ritchie’s roof and siding were replaced and the walls were insulated.
Ritchie’s electric bill dropped more than half from previous months, she said.
“I expected the bill to go down some, but not that much,” she said. “I feel like I’ve got a new home.”
The Refugio resident was severely injured in a car accident in the ’90s. Her recovery has been slow and she remains disabled.
Ritchie was one of four Refugio residents whose homes were repaired. Five were renovated in Woodsboro and one in Bayside.
Guadalupe York, 80, of Woodsboro said she worried a lot about the deteriorating roof that eventually damaged her floor. During every rain, she could hear the drops falling on her ceiling.
Getting in and out of her bathtub was also getting harder for the octogenarian.
York’s roof was replaced, her kitchen floor repaired, new linoleum laid in the kitchen and bathroom and an ADA shower installed.
“They did such a good job,” York said. “Now, I don’t have to worry anymore.”
Flowering plants abound in her manicured yard and her modest home sparkles under her care.
“I love to be outside working in my yard,” she says.
York moved with her parents to Woodsboro in 1942. She was 11.
“This is our home place,” she says. “It’s a very old house. It began with just two rooms and we added on through the years.”
Both recipients had one thing in common — extreme gratitude for the helping hand.
With the work complete and the grant closed out, Freudiger said there remains a need in the county for improvements to low-income residents’ homes.
“Now that we have the experience on how to deal with these grants, hopefully the county will be eligible for more in the future.”