The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Owner-Occupied “Serve Our Seniors” (SOS) Minor Repair Program

Grant Information
Categories Community
Location South Texas
Cycle Year 2010
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Merced Housing Texas
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Susan R. sheeran, president
Phone 210/281-0234 ext. 202
212 West Laurel
San Antonio
Additional Information
Used for The Owner-Occupied “Serve Our Seniors” (SOS) Minor Repair Program, under the umbrella of the Owner-Occupied Repair Program, helps low-income seniors and disabled persons with desperately needed health- and safety-related home repairs. Each home averages $7,000 to $8,000 in repair costs. With this grant, we will be able to make complete repairs to at least two homes.
Benefits The Serve Our Seniors Program improves the quality of life for the elderly and for those with disabilities. Beyond the obvious restoration of healthful, sanitary conditions, repairing seniors’ homes reduces their stress, often bringing them renewed faith, hope for the future, and enthusiasm for life. Through the experience of repairing more than 460 homes, we have found that recipients of our program often become more involved in their families and communities as a result.
Proposal Description Through the Owner-Occupied Repair Programs, Merced Housing Texas makes minor home repairs for very low-income senior and disabled homeowners who cannot afford to keep their homes safe, sanitary, or structurally sound.

Many of these homeowners manage to live without basic necessities such as heat, gas, water, or electricity. Gas leaks, faulty wiring, broken plumbing and damaged roofs and walls constitute serious health and safety risks. However, they subsist on fixed incomes and are unable to afford food, insurance, and medicine, let alone make repairs or qualify for home improvement loans. Merced makes desperately needed repairs at no cost to the homeowner. Each home costs an average of $7,000 to $8,000 in repairs.

The goal of the OORP Program is to repair 40 homes during our fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2011. By transforming elderly and disabled homeowners’ homes from places of fear and worry to places of comfort and safety, we create a more healthful environment that improves recipients’ overall quality of life and helps them to be productive members of the communities in which they live.

At the inception of the SOS Program in 2002, the first of the Owner-Occupied Minor Repair Programs, the target area was the Denver Heights, Nevada Street, and Dignowity Hill neighborhoods on the East Side of San Antonio. Word of the programs has spread through the East Side community, and Merced receives referrals and learns of many needs outside the initial target area. The programs have subsequently expanded to include neighborhoods south of Fort Sam Houston; east of IH-37; north of IH-10/Roland Avenue; and west of W.W. White/Lord Road/IH-410—the area comprising City Council District 2.

Merced has been increasingly successful in garnering collaborations with other entities, leveraging funds to repair increasing numbers of homes. This year, we have partnered with the City of San Antonio Grants and Administration Department on the District 2 Senior Home Repair Program, which has repaired 14 homes in this calendar year.

The process for SOS repairs begins with the potential recipient requesting assistance and filling out an application. To meet eligibility requirements for the Serve Our Seniors Program, applicants must:

• own their homes;
• have very low incomes (30% or less of the Area Median Income, adjusted for family size.
In 2010, the San Antonio AMI is $12,150 a year for an individual);
• be either 56 or older and/or physically or mentally handicapped or with special needs; and
• live south of Ft. Sam Houston, east of IH-37, north of IH-10/Roland Ave. and west of W. W. White/Lord Rd./IH 410.

If the recipient meets the above requirements, the Rehabilitation Specialist visits the home and assesses the repair needs, documenting with photographs. Contractors submit bids and the Rehabilitation Specialist contracts to make repairs. The contractor, Rehabilitation Specialist, and recipient sign a scope of work. The contractor makes repairs. The Rehabilitation Specialist inspects the work and documents with photographs. He administers a survey where the recipient rates the quality of the work and the manner in which it was performed. Merced compensates the contractor.

Merced evaluates the success of the SOS Program internally through inspections by the Rehabilitation Specialist and externally by surveying recipients. The Rehabilitation Specialist, Owner-Occupied Repair Program Coordinator, and President review rehabilitation experiences and discuss best practices on an ongoing basis. The Rehabilitation Specialist takes photographs of recipients’ homes during the initial assessment process and within a week after work has been completed. He inspects the completed work on each home. Recipients complete a survey, which allows them to rate aspects of the program on a scale of 1 to 5. They are asked to rate both the quality of the work itself and the demeanor and professionalism of the construction crew and Merced staff involved.

The more experience Merced has in the East Side and other underserved areas of San Antonio, the more clearly we see how profound and far-reaching the need is. Other programs to help very low-income senior homeowners are dwindling. We wish to continue to grow the Owner-Occupied Repair Program in order to meet an increasing need. We work diligently to raise funds for the SOS Program and have had a great deal of success, but the waiting list for repairs is still very long.

Every home we repair represents a senior’s life transformed, and with every request, our commitment is renewed to continue the programs and help as many deserving seniors and disabled homeowners as possible.