Details for LIVE WELL NEBRASKA-0WH

Content sponsored by Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Nebraska

JEFFREY BEBEE

Clara Walls says Project Houseworks has built her morale.
The nonprofit’s inside-out inspection of her home and
repairs may even have saved her life.

KEEPING
HOMES SAFE
When Project Houseworks came knocking,
Clara Walls, 85, had no idea the help and
support she’d receive would improve the
quality of her life and home — for free.
By Dan McCann
Special for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska
Ever since Clara Walls moved into her home more than
45 years ago, her front porch has served as a welcoming conduit for countless friends and loved ones. The
leaky roof was disheartening. Walls couldn’t afford it fix
it. But, even then, that seasoned porch connected her to
another life-saving relationship.
“I would never have been able to do, for myself,
the things that Project Houseworks did for me,” says
Walls, 85.
Project Houseworks provides no-cost home repairs and
home modifications to hundreds of local seniors each
year. Walls and her leaky porch roof were referred in
autumn 2018, which led to a phone interview and a visit
from Sara Zivny, Project Housework’s program manager.
“Sara was standing at the door and said, ‘May we
come in, because we not only help on the outside of
peoples’ homes, we also help on the inside.’”
To achieve its overarching goal – helping seniors like
Walls age in safe and healthy homes – Project Houseworks employs two full-time, in-house construction specialists and taps a roster of about 30 paid contractors.
“We do not ask for discounts, but all of our contractors
understand the population we serve requires special
attention,” says Lynette Farhart, executive director.
Project Houseworks coordinated the replacement of
Walls’ roof and gutters, but the scope of work didn’t end
there. An inside-out inspection of her home revealed a
need for several modifications. Work crews relocated
the basement laundry to the main level of the home,
converted the bathtub to a walk-in shower, installed
handrails on stairs and replaced worn-out carpeting —
all free of charge.
Then there was the free furnace inspection Project
Houseworks arranged during its Warm the Metro volunteer event that may have saved Walls’ life. A technician
with Hans Heating and Air Conditioning discovered and
rectified a carbon monoxide leak.
“Those stories happen almost every year,” says Jamie
Fitzgerald, sales manager. “We deal with scary stuff.”
Inspired by a business owner who is “always looking
for opportunities to give back to our community,” Hans
Heating and Air Conditioning has been involved with
Warm the Metro for several years now. The event is
held each October in collaboration with the Heating and
Cooling Contractors Association.
“We’re all doing it for the same reason — it’s the right
thing to do,” Fitzgerald says.
Project Houseworks is also bolstered by Powering
Hope, an annual event in conjunction with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local
22. Every April, electricians and journeymen donate their
time to provide free electrical repairs.
Project Houseworks also hosts a Brush Up paint-a-thon
each August.
Supported, in part, with funding from Blue Cross and
Blue Shield of Nebraska, Project Houseworks has assisted more than 2,500 seniors and their families since its
inception in 1996.
Walls says the program has done more than repair and
modify her home; it has built her morale.
“I never knew there would be any organization or
people that would be this nice to me or do this much
for me,” she says. “They are the greatest, and they still
keep up with me.”
“Faces of Fearless” is a storytelling series from Blue Cross and Blue Shield
of Nebraska, celebrating people living their best lives and inspiring others
to do the same.

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peace of mind

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