From NEFBA STAFF
If you remember Hurricane Irma as a close call, consider yourself fortunate. For other homeowners in Northeast Florida, Irma remains a disaster of the present.
Those still experiencing the aftermath of Irma are typically low-income homeowners with no flood insurance. Many remain displaced, while others have been forced to sell the family home.
There also is a third group, those who continue to live in these flooded homes even though the homes have not been remediated.
As the only nonprofit construction company in the area, Builders Care is heavily involved with the Northeast Florida Long-Term Recovery Organization (NEFLTRO). Builders Care is uniquely qualified to oversee long-term recovery construction.
“Our involvement with the construction committee has given us an opportunity to see the extent of the need and to help find the resources needed to address them,” said Builders Care Executive Director Justin Brown. “It is very helpful that organizations are eager to partner with Builders Care to help those yet to recover from 2017’s active and destructive hurricane season.”
The First Coast Relief Fund, established by United Way to help Hurricane Irma victims, gave Builders Care a $100,000 grant for emergency roofing repair.
“As of May 23, because of this incredible grant from United Way, Builders Care has been able to repair 63 leaking roofs,” Brown said. “This is incredible. I cannot thank Jacksonville’s United Way enough for coming up with roof repair funding. By comparison, Builders Care was able to repair 42 leaking roofs in 2017, which was more than the 37 roofs we were able to repair in 2016.”
Anyone who has lived with a roof leak understands the persistent fear that the roof will fall and the stress of not being able to stop it.
“We are now in the 2018 hurricane season,” Brown said. “That is a reminder that many of our citizens live in constant fear of rain — not to mention violent weather like hurricanes and tornados — in Florida. For someone living on Social Security, a $1,500 roof repair is almost insurmountable. Without repair, the damage simply gets worse and that means far more expensive to repair.”
Thanks to NEFLTRO, Builders Care received a grant from Volunteer Florida, providing funding to hire a full-time construction manager and purchase construction materials for putting homes back together.
Longtime friend of the community and local partner HabiJax also approached Builders Care with a funding opportunity. Through an established memorandum of understanding, HabiJax is providing funds for Builders Care to put Hurricane Irma victims back into safe, sanitary homes.
“With much help from the community, Builders Care is prepared for the disaster recovery needs,” Brown said. “These funding sources are an incredible blessing, but we can’t forget there are many in need who were not victims of Irma. Builders Care is one of the city’s few remaining sources of help for those in need of a wheelchair ramp. That’s why we look to NEFBA members, now more than ever, to join our Caring Members group. That group provides funding for our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens all year.”
Builders Care is a not-for-profit arm of NEFBA, dedicated to eliminating unsafe housing conditions for the low-income, disabled, elderly and other at-risk residents.
Visit Builders Care at builderscare.org to view examples of the home repairs and renovations. Contact Justin Brown at (904) 727-3443 or [email protected].