Atlanta gives nonprofit $50K to fund home repairs for seniors
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The City of Atlanta released $50,000 in funds to help Atlanta’s oldest residents. City leaders say the life-changing money is one answer to the metro’s affordable housing crisis.
The funds will benefit Atlanta nonprofit HouseProud, which helps Atlanta seniors and veterans with home repairs.
Atlanta City Councilmember Jason Dozier called the money a “humanitarian need” to support seniors living in Atlanta.
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“We owe it to those seniors to make sure we take care of them,” said Dozier. “They played such an important role in defining who we are as a city.”
HouseProud executive director Lisa Flowers Jones said the people who come to her organization are desperate for help.
“We try to be support so we can protect them from investors, code enforcement, skyrocketing property taxes,” explained Jones. “They’re scared, they’re exhausted, and they’re worried. They feel like they’re going to be displaced from their home.”
Many homes needing dire repairs are some of the oldest in the city. They can cost thousands of dollars to fix.
“If you need a new roof, new plumbing, new electrical – sometimes that’s more than what you bring in as a senior in a given month,” said Jones.
Candler Park resident Charles E. Wilkins was one homeowner stuck in dangerous living conditions before receiving aid from HouseProud. Wilkins said he didn’t have power for several weeks during summer 2022 because his equipment was too old. He lost access to air conditioning and some medical devices for his heart and lungs that require electricity.
“All my neighbors were astounded to find out I managed to survive,” said Wilkins.
Wilkins explained seniors in similar situations can feel forced out of their homes by eager investors. Seniors selling their homes in disrepair are often unaware of how much they’re worth.
“They had to sell short, sometimes taking 50 cents on the dollar of the value of their home. That’s part of the gentrification project and redlining,” said Wilkins. “That money won’t last long.”
Not only did HouseProud fix Wilkins’ electrical system, they also repaired rotting wood on his deck and the front of his home. They also transformed his front yard.
“They made a way out of no way,” said Wilkins.
With the new funding, city leaders hope to provide more peace of mind to the people who made Atlanta the city it is today.
“They fought the good fight,” said Dozier. “From crime to transportation, to building new parks in our communities. We want to make sure they can enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
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