A homeowner on the front porch of her white house in Franklin County, Virginia.

Helping a longtime resident age in place

Sheila has lived in her childhood home in Franklin County, Virginia, since she was 7 years old. A leaky roof and an inaccessible bathroom, however, made it increasingly difficult to comfortably reside in the place she’s called home for nearly 70 years.

Sheila uses two canes for mobility, so navigating the tub made taking a shower challenging. Then, a crack made the tub unusable altogether. “Sometimes, I would go to my daughter-in-law’s to take a shower,” she says. Her roof was also deteriorating. Sheila first discovered a leak in her storage closet, but soon other areas of her roof started to leak.

The 75-year-old knew that if she wanted to remain in her treasured home and one day pass it on to her family, she would need to repair the roof and bathroom. But finances were tight for Sheila, who retired several years ago after a long career as a seamstress and local factory worker.

A friend told Sheila about Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County’s affordable home repair program, and she decided to apply to see if the program could help.

A renovated bathroom now includes a new vanity, toilet and accessible shower.

With funding support from Lowe’s, Habitat Franklin County helped Sheila build an accessible bathroom. 

Working together to serve more families

Financial support from Lowe’s helped offset the cost of Sheila’s home repairs. “Lowe’s made Sheila’s repair achievable for us,” says Sheila Overstreet, Habitat Franklin County’s executive director. “Their grant helped us with the cost of her repair. Without that funding, we couldn’t do as many repairs as we’re performing in Franklin County.”

Since 2003, Lowe’s has donated more than US$92 million to Habitat. Their support over the past two decades has helped more than 18,000 families across more than 600 communities in the U.S., Canada and India improve their living conditions. In 2022 alone, 78 affiliates were able to complete 483 repair and community revitalization projects with the help of grants funded by Lowe’s.

“At Lowe’s, we know housing conditions are critical to the prosperity of families and communities,” says Julie Yenichek, Lowe’s senior director of community relations. “The critical home repair and rehabilitation projects we support with Habitat help families improve their homes and can help older adults with fixed incomes age in place with dignity.”

Preserving a lasting legacy

Habitat Franklin County replaced Sheila’s roof and remodeled the bathroom. The bathroom modifications fixing a sunken-in floor, moving and replacing the toilet, and installing a walk-in shower with a seat all made the home more accessible. Sheila’s hallway floor was also repaired to ensure the structure was stable.

Sheila calls her repairs “the best thing that ever happened. I don’t ever have to worry about the rain coming in the house. I don’t have to worry about my shower. I don’t have to worry about anything,” Sheila says.

Finding healing at home

Patricia needed to build a ramp to help her son safely get in and out of their home. With the support of Habitat and Lowe’s, and help from volunteers, James now has a ramp, and Patricia has greater security and peace of mind.

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