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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Oct. 11, 201810:56 AM EST

Builders Care partners with others to expand, enhance Irma recovery services

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Director: 'We have repaired more roofs than we did in 2016-2017 combined'
by: Realty Builder Staff Staff Writer

As a nonprofit construction company, Builders Care has a targeted clientele: the elderly, those needing special modifications to accommodate physical conditions and families with young children who are stretched financially and unable to make much-needed home repairs. 

In other words, Builders Care is a company with a mission to help provide safe, healthy housing for everyone in Jacksonville and surrounding areas. As the charitable arm of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, Builders Care has an inside track to builders, suppliers and others related to the building industry.

“Already this year, we have repaired more roofs than we did in 2016-2017 combined,” said Justin Brown, director of Builders Care. “The fact that we are still recovering from Hurricane Irma and had more damage to homes, particularly roofs, than in past years accounts for part of that increase.”

Finding community partners with similar goals made the increase in workload possible.

“Our budget alone will not permit us to complete all the work that needs to be done,” he said. “Thus far, because of grants from the United Way, Presbyterian Social Ministries and HabiJax, we’ve been able to repair 103 roofs and perform nine full re-roofs in 2018. We’ve also helped 12 families get back into safe housing after living through the Irma flood without flood insurance. The flooded homes in the Ken Knight Drive area have been done with help from the Cooperative Baptist Foundation, Yellow House Art and 7,269 hours of volunteer help for 2018.”

The Northeast Florida Long-Term Recovery Operation has been essential to Builders Care’s increased ability to aid and assist storm victims.

“NEFLTRO’s contribution to these projects is such a great example of what happens when public and private sectors work together to solve the problems of individuals and the communities where they live,” Brown said. “Sharing resources and preventing duplication of efforts allows us to reach more people and provide more help.”

Brown chairs NEFLTRO’s construction committee and has seen firsthand that partnerships of this type extend available resources. “This group is basically why we’ve been able to coordinate resources with other nonprofits,” he said.

When Hurricane Irma came barreling into town, many of those affected sought help from local nonprofits. Nonprofits started working together to form a Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster, which, with direction from FEMA, was formed with the understanding that it will take years for Jacksonville to recover fully. 

Builders Care was asked to participate. Meeting every week, the major Jacksonville nonprofits have been diligently planning and organizing the Northeast Florida Long-Term Recovery Organization.

Through United Way, the First Coast Relief Fund was established to help with long-term recovery. The initial focus was on immediate needs in the hurricane aftermath. To start working toward rebuilding, the First Coast Relief Fund granted Builders Care $100,000 to start fixing roofs in immediate need of repair.

NECHAMA (a nonprofit national Jewish Response to Disaster organization), ElderSource, Yellow House, the Red Cross and local pastors and faith leaders assessed the needs to provide Builders Care with the names of homeowners most in need.

For those not in Irma’s path, it’s hard to imagine the storm’s damage still affecting lives, but people still are living in homes without walls, with leaking roofs and other unsafe conditions. 

“Any one agency can do only so much,” Brown said. “When you start pooling your resources, the available dollars go much further. We are thankful for these partnerships and are glad we can do our share in a more efficient and effective way because the community is coming together to make things work, and ultimately to change lives.”

To learn how you can help Builders Care’s mission, visit www.BuildersCare.org or call (904) 727-3443. To learn more about Northeast Florida Long-Term Recovery Operation, the organization that coordinates nonprofit agency recovery efforts, visit www.duvaldisasterrecovery.org.

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