The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

March 31, 2014

Crews offer free home repairs in Fayette Co.

Oak Hill United Methodist Church will coordinate a housing repair ministry beginning in April to provide assistance to Fayette County residents who could benefit from home repairs.

The Rev. Dr. Charles Miller and wife Dr. Sharon Miller said that hundreds of volunteers comprising work teams from all over the country will travel to Fayette County between April and October to complete numerous need-based projects selected from an application pool.

Various types of repairs will be completed, Sharon said, ranging from electrical work to interior painting and deck building to landscaping. The only work that is not considered under the scope of the project is roof work, Sharon said.

“We’ve replaced retainer walls, porches, handicap ramps; bathrooms have been totally redone,” said Charles.  

Projects will be selected based on determined need and matched with a work team possessing the skill set required to get the work done.

Charles said that in addition to affording homeowners a new sense of pride in their home, the community project also serves to boost the local economy since the construction materials are purchased locally and volunteers take advantage of Fayette County’s resources and activities.

After calculating the impact of 2013’s housing repair ministry, Charles said it was estimated that roughly $850,000 was fed into Fayette’s economy.   

However, Sharon said the ultimate goal of the ministry is to make people more comfortable in their homes.

Another goal is to make homes more efficient, thereby reducing the cost of utility bills and making homeownership more economical.

“We put a lot of windows in, because that cuts utility bills and makes it a higher quality of living,” said Charles. “What is wonderful about this project is that it builds (the homeowner’s) self-worth.

“We aren’t concerned with property value; we want to raise the standard of living for folks.”

Often times, the teams working on home repair projects build strong relationships with the family they’re serving, which is what characterizes the program as a ministry.

Most recently, a team that has worked on the program for three consecutive summers came to visit Fayette County with the sole purpose of eating dinner with families they have helped with house repair projects in the past, Sharon said.

“The core of this program is about relationship building and caring for people,” said Charles. “The physical work on the property is just a door to get into their lives to offer them more.”

This wide-scale community service program has been organized by Oak Hill United Methodist Church for several years now, but Sharon and Charles said that applicants who have applied for projects in previous years must reapply this year in order for their application to be considered.

“We’re starting from scratch this year,” said Sharon. “If people have put an application in previously, we’d like them to resubmit it.”

Applicants must be homeowners in order to apply for the housing repair ministry. Applications will be available in upcoming editions of both The Register-Herald and The Fayette Tribune, but can also be picked up in person at Oak Hill United Methodist Administrative Building, 250 Main St., Oak Hill.

For more information, call 304-469-4126.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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