By Tim Eshelman, Director of Environmental Services
In my 24 years at Hammer in the maintenance department, I have watched many of those we support grow up – many who have become like a family to me. It’s an honor for me to provide those we support with a place they are proud to call home, a home for a lifetime.
As those we support and their homes age, we’re doing more home improvement projects than ever before to provide a safe home environment in our 36 homes and 10 apartment programs. Some of these projects are in the budget; others are added because of a crisis. Financial gifts to the Home Improvement Fund are budget relieving and make it possible for us to react quickly.
The rainiest spring ever caused wet basements and water damage. Retaining walls were built in a few homes with water issues to (hopefully!) prevent future flooding.
At our Kentucky home in Plymouth, there were some unexpected health developments that caused us to do a full home remodel, quickly, for the safety of those in the home. An elevator was added to allow access to both levels of the home, roll in shower and wall mounted sinks were installed to accommodate wheelchairs in the bathroom, and more than 750 square feet of space was added to give the home a more open, accessible floor plan, allowing easy access to everyone in the home. All this remodeling was done while those who live in the home were at work, an average of five and a half hours a day with minimal disruption.
Sometimes a full home remodel like Kentucky is not structurally possible, and that’s when we have to look at purchasing a new home. This summer we replaced a split level home in Minnetonka (Sumac) with a home in Eden Prairie to better fit the four women who live in the home. It has a more open floor plan and can accommodate the installation of an elevator, if needed. Like any new home, we had to make changes there too, installing new doors for our keyless entry system and bringing the deck up to code.
This year we have installed gutter guards and replaced carpet with vinyl flooring (for increased accessibility/mobility of wheelchairs and easier maintenance). We have replaced drafty windows, leaky roofs, and older vinyl siding with maintenance free, insulated steel siding.
Soon we will be doing two kitchen remodels to improve accessibility and safety for those who live and work in the home. We will be making a couple bathrooms more accessible by installing a roll-in shower, a freedom tub and a wall hanging sink. There will of course be an unexpected project or two that will come up and throw a wrench into our plans.
And that’s okay, because with your support, we will take care of it.