Pete, outside his home after repairs
Beloved Portland musician, Pete, had a problem. This problem wasn’t the type to find solace in a jazzy serenade, or coded into a secret message within a new album. This problem was with the place that he has called home for over 10 years.
Built in 1929, Pete's Cully neighborhood home was suffering at a rhythm that even his talent couldn’t keep pace with, including lead paint and a leaking roof. On top of this, Pete's battle with cancer the past two years put most things in his life — including home repairs — on hold while he focused on recovery. Thankful for his restored health, Pete now juggles paying for past medical expenses and paying for basic day-to-day needs.
When Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East launched the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) in the Cully Neighborhood last year, Pete received a flyer in the mail that gave him new hope for his home.
“There were so many things that needed to be done around here,” said Pete. “It was getting overwhelming and I could have never even thought about making repairs without a program like Habitat’s.”
The exterior of Pete's home was covered in lead paint that was flaking off, exposing the siding and wood trim to the elements. A window in the front door was broken and needed to be replaced. In addition, the existing roof was almost 15 years old and had leaks, requiring a complete removal and replacement of the shingles, flashing and five of the plywood panels underneath.
“Parts of Pete’s home had been going downhill for some time due to the age of the roof and the damage it started to cause,” said Rod Hilkiah, Habitat Construction Supervisor. “If left unchecked, these type of repairs can get costly and require more skill than the average homeowner is prepared for.”
One of biggest improvements needed to Pete's home was one that he didn’t even know about. After inspection, insulation in the walls, attic, basement and crawl space were all below standard, which partially explained why his home was drafty and difficult to heat and keep cool.
“I knew the older windows made it hard to keep the house warm,” said Pete. “But, I also found out the insulation was pretty bad. The upgrades are already making a difference.”
One of Habitat’s NRI goals is to assist current homeowners in the Cully neighborhood with affordable, critical home repairs, like the ones made to Pete's home. These repairs alleviate health and safety issues. Homeowners go through an application process to be accepted into the Habitat NRI program, followed by an evaluation of necessary repairs and costs.
Homeowners receive a 0%-interest loan for the cost of repairs and make monthly payments equal to 20% to 80% of the repair costs, depending on income. In addition, homeowners are encouraged to help make repairs alongside Habitat volunteers and the construction team. Pete utilized the scaffolding Habitat put up outside his house to apply paint to the exterior during his free time, a task that made a big difference in appearance and protection of his home.
“I chose this shade of green myself,” said Pete with a half-smile. “My friends picked a shade that had a more yellow and it was a little brighter, but I think this one suits me pretty well.”
With critical home repairs complete, Pete has been able to move on with his music while also managing smaller improvements inside his home.
“I’m currently working on some long overdue paint and repairs in most of the rooms. When I’m not working on my home, I’m playing gigs around town in the evenings and teaching guitar lessons.”
For more information about Habitat’s Home Repair and Prevention Program in the Cully neighborhood, contact Jessica Jazdzewski (yaz-jev-ski) at 503.287.9529 x30 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.