For the second year, AMY Wellness Foundation (AMYWF) received a $300,000 grant from Dogwood Health Trust (DHT) to address critical home repairs for low-income families, elderly, or disabled residents in the AMY region. Home repairs are a vital resource for our communities. A report found that 80% of the homes in Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties are over 40 years old. As these homes age and repairs are needed, many low-income families do not have the means to make repairs on their own. In time, small repair needs become significant and expensive concerns, which commonly jeopardize residents’ safety and ability to remain in their homes. In addition, elderly and disabled persons represent 86% of the average population in need and their income falls between 75% – 100% of the national poverty guideline. An overwhelming percentage of elders are not physically or financially capable of making critical repairs on their own and many do not have a support system to help them. Being forced to vacate their homes is a tragic reality many faces.
With support from the first grant in 2021, AMYWF partnered with MY Habitat for Humanity and WAMY Community Action. WAMY Community Action anticipated the Housing Coalition would serve twenty-eight low-income households with critical home repairs. Through compassion, philanthropy, and hard work, AMYWF is proud to report fifty families were served. Sixty-six individuals, including eleven children, are now safe, warm, and healthy in their homes. The average household age was 62 years old, and the median household income was $1,296 per month ($15,552 per year).
While the coalition was able to serve most of the individuals that applied for services, there were still 34 families on the home repair waiting list. “The current state of housing is problematic and low-income individuals, especially elders, are particularly vulnerable,” said April Beck, WAMY Community Action, Housing & Energy Development Director. “While new developments are undoubtedly needed, it is increasingly important to preserve the current housing stock through critical home repairs and rehabilitation. Facing a serious home repair need is stressful for any homeowner but can be devastating for someone who is already struggling to keep their head above water. Many people with limited financial resources must postpone important home repairs and, in time, those repair needs grow in scope and cost. Eventually, the house becomes hazardous to the homeowners’ health and safety. Many local homes are so unsafe that the individual faces the choice of relocating, or remaining in a home that is dangerous,” she continued.
When AMYWF saw the impact our first grant made and the number of families still in need, AMYWF applied for a new grant with Dogwood Health Trust to continue this program in 2023. “We are grateful for the continued support and collaboration with Dogwood Health Trust and look forward to continuing this impactful work with WAMY and the Housing Coalition again next year,” said Luke Howe, AMYWF, Executive Director. “This community is so fortunate to have the AMY Wellness Foundation and Dogwood Health Trust, who brings tremendous resources to the Avery, Mitchell, Yancey region,” said Beck.
“Dogwood Health Trust is grateful for partners like AMY Wellness Foundation, because of their deep knowledge of community and ability to deploy funding where it is needed most,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “Our support of home repair and rehabilitation efforts stems from our strategy to improve the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable populations, including our seniors, ensuring that everyone has a safe, stable, and healthy place to call home.”