Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity
Home Preservation program, available to limited-income families, veterans
Updated: Mar 29
Houses, like everything else, break and need repairs. For some families, calling a handyman or contractor just isn’t feasible. Money is stretched so tightly, there just isn’t anything leftover to fix a leaky roof, rotting exterior wood stairs, or to replace drafty doors. Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) offers a Home Preservation program for limited-income families in need of house repairs.
GSHFH Home Preservation program provides affordable micro-loans to qualifying homeowners who need help with accessibility modifications, home weatherization, general home repairs, yard cleanup, and landscaping. Some critical repair work and larger loans are available on a case-by-case basis. Greater Springfield Habitat works alongside volunteers, homeowners, and subcontractors to make repairs.
“Everyone is very friendly, very accommodating. They’re a lot nicer than other contractors,” said Crystal Rondeau, who applied and accepted help in 2021 on a two-part project as she battled a rare form of skin cancer that affected her right arm. The single mother of three teenage daughters, Crystal had undergone several surgeries and five weeks of five-days-a-week radiation treatments in Boston. She commuted daily from her Monson home. “They were very respectful and I didn’t feel like I was asking for a handout.”
The Habitat construction crew replaced the linoleum and carpet throughout the entryway, living room, kitchen, and hallway with laminate. Crystal, who also lives with a neurological disorder that has weakened the right side of her body, said the change in flooring often presented a tripping hazard. As a result, she had broken several bones in her feet. The new flooring offered a consistent smooth surface throughout the downstairs living area. For part two, GSHFH brought in Triple S Construction, which replaced three exterior doors, and the decking and stairs to the front and side entryway. Triple S also widened the side entryway in the event that Crystal needed to put down her groceries before walking into the house.
Crystal is now in remission and she said the Habitat repairs have made a difference in her everyday life. In addition to the cohesive look and lack of tripping hazards in her downstairs, she said the new doors have resulted in a decrease to her energy bill.
Bob and Phyllis Bronson have similar praises for GSHFH. Their Westfield home received a makeover after the aged siding was replaced with vinyl in 2021. In 2017, Greater Springfield Habitat volunteers cleaned the exterior and awnings. They also weatherized the windows and repaired a hole beneath the kitchen sink.
“Habitat did just what they said they’d do,” said Bob Bronson, a former Marine lance corporal who served four years, including the Vietnam War. “We would never have been about to afford all these repairs without Habitat. It helped.”
To learn more about home preservation, go to habitatspringfield.org/home-preservation