Margaret Forde, born in Barbados, achieved the American dream buying her home 24 years ago in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Southeast Washington. She found the area safe and beautiful with lots of trees, plus friendly neighbors. "It feels like home," she says. Although the home needed repairs, it had a solid foundation, and she was able to afford the down payment for which she had been saving. She fixed the home over the years doing what she could. Then the problems escalated.
In 2018, her living room ceiling fell in. And later, she had a stealthy roof leak that led to severe water damage throughout the home. Water streamed down the walls, and she had to put out containers to catch it. Her master bathroom sink and lights stopped working--making it unusable--along with other lights and outlets throughout the home.
As a former Girl Scout, Ms. Forde was always proud that she knew how to survive any conditions and to handle challenges. But now in her late 70's with self-described “bad knees,” she feels overwhelmed by all the repairs. Managing it all has become difficult and beyond her budget. She reached out to Lydia’s House to apply for city services, and through our partnership, Lydia’s House referred her to Yachad’s Single Family Healthy Home Remediation Program.
Yachad got to work.
With the water leak now under control when Ms. Forde replaced the original roof, Yachad focused on the rest: extensive wall and ceiling damage, plumbing and electrical repairs, and accessibility needs.
Yachad’s repairs have made a difference in Ms. Forde’s daily living. The master bathroom is now functional, replacing the sink and fixing the walls, lights, and outlets. Electrical work is completed with repairs to outlets and lights throughout the home. GFI's were installed for safety. New bannisters were added to staircases, plus handrails were tightened making it easier for Ms. Forde to navigate the steps with her cane. Plaster walls and ceilings throughout the home are patched and damaged drywall replaced to reduce cold air and pests infiltrating the home.
Her favorite repair is the new light installed in the basement. Previously, she stumbled through the dark and up a flight of stairs before accessing a light switch. Now her path is illuminated making coming and going much safer.
She said her family has good genes, so she expects to live in and enjoy her home for many more years. Ms. Forde is tickled to receive assistance from a Jewish organization. She has fond memories of attending an all-Jewish high school in Flatbush, New York. “The Jewish people have helped me out over the years when I needed it. I feel a special connection.”