‘Habitat’ volunteers tackle first of several West Sac home repair projects

Marty Swingle and Derek Haynes at at work, fixing the roof at a West Sacramento home. Swingle is president of the Habitat-Yolo board and Haynes is a board member (photo courtesy of Diana Walker-Smith)


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Work on one West Sacramento home was postponed because of the resident’s medical issues.

But volunteers from the Yolo chapter of Habitat for Humanity found some other good work to do in West Sacramento this month: they converged on the home of a pair of West Sacramento brothers who needed a little help with their north-area home.

“We tore down and replaced their porch, and we also did some roof repair,” reports Diana Walker-Smith, executive director for Habitat Yolo. “All the work is done. We just have to paint it. We’ll be out there again definitely on Thursday.”

Tracy Harris (the Habitat chapter board's vice president) and Roger Aston (treasurer) with construction manager Robert Mitchell (on the ladder). Photo courtesy of Diana Walker-Smith.

Walker-Smith estimated that over 30 people came to help out with the work over several days, including volunteers from a well-known store chain.

“We had people from Home Depot coming from as far south as Stockton and as far north as Yuba City,” she said.

“They’re all volunteers. Home Depot has a very pro-community philosophy. Home Depot also donated some shrubs – we had to cut down two large junipers on either side of the porch to fix the roof.”

The culprit at the home of Boris Shipunoff, 72, and Benjamin Shipunoff, a 57-year old disabled veteran, was some pesky dry rot that left the porch and part of the roof in dangerous shape. The new “A Brush with Kindness” program from Habitat was meant to give them a hand.

  Habitat for Humanity is best known for its work building new homes for people who can’t afford to buy a house the traditional way. The new “A Brush With Kindness” program is a different kind of effort, helping low-income people afford to repair the exterior of their home. The Yolo chapter’s effort is now focused on helping a handful of homeowners in West Sacramento’s Bryte and Broderick neighborhoods, on the north side.

“We have five homes lined up so far,” said Walker-Smith.

The renovation program is similar to the home-building program, she added.

“The way we’re able to do it is we get underwriters. We find people who donate supplies or funds. All our work is no-profit, at our cost. It costs much less because we use volunteers working with a professional construction manager. We give (the homeowner) a zero-percent loan to pay for the home, we build it and sell it at a zero-percent mortgage. We then take the payments from them and recycle the money into new homes.”

Anyone interested in helping Habitat, or applying for help, can reach the group at (530) 668-4301 or by email at hfhed@dcn.org. The group’s website is at http://www.habitatyolo.org/.

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