A home provides a strong sense of security and comfort, this is especially true for older adults.

 Now, imagine being an elderly, disabled person, currently living alone in a run-down house that is in critical need of repair. What would you do? Whom would you turn to?

Sadly, living this reality is Vincent, a Vietnam Veteran currently living in an unsafe house, which is falling apart around him. He has an urgent need for critical home repair. He is disabled, having had one leg amputated at the hip, and replaced with a prosthetic.

Vincent received an honorable discharge in December of 1972 after serving a number of years on an Aircraft Carrier in the Navy. He fondly remembers traveling around East Asia, however, mentions that he never actually set foot in Vietnam. Upon returning to civilian life, Vincent went back to the job he had before joining the military, which was working with a small company that renovates bowling alleys. He worked in this career for 20 years, before spending another 20 working for the United States Postal Service. Vincent shares that he lost his leg due to “stubbornness” and that after suffering a small injury, a cut on his leg, he left it too long without proper treatment – and he ended up in hospital with a serious life-threatening condition, with the only solution being to amputate the leg. The doctors tried their best to save the leg, removing just the foot to start but 

ended up needing to remove the entire leg. It is unclear exactly how long ago this injury was sustained, but it is clear that this was the turning point that led to the home becoming so unsafe. Vincent recalls doing odd construction jobs on his own and some of the other homes around the neighborhood, and tells a story of himself, along with his father and brother, being up on the house installing a new roof, “well over 40 years ago”. Vincent is clearly very embarrassed by how far his disabilities have let the home go into disrepair, and was clear in his wanting to help in the rehab process as much as physically possible.

The house needs a new roof, has rotting fascia, broken gutters, and unsafe entry points. The kitchen has curled linoleum tiles, which is a trip hazard for the disabled gentleman, and only has one cabinet. The only bathroom in the home, located upstairs, is also in disrepair. The electrical system is an old fuse box with outdated wiring, and the gas-fired heating system has not “really worked in a few years.”

Vincent urgently needs a safe living environment, and with your help, we can provide this Elderly Veteran with a safe, decent and affordable home.

In order to help folks like Vincent, Essex County Habitat for Humanity is piloting a new “Aging in Place” program in select communities. While working on Vincent’s home, and over the course of the next few months, Essex County Habitat plans to continue growing this new program into one that can help more elderly throughout Essex County.

What you can do to help!

Make a donation today to help seniors be able to stay safe at home – essexcountyhabitat.org/aging-in-place-with-habitat-for-humanity/

Register to come and volunteer as part of the repair crew working on Vincent’s home –essexcountyhabitat.org/volunteer-registration/