NeighborLink Indianapolis was created in 2013 to help low-income seniors with home repairs. In order to get help, seniors in need call us up and are guided through a process that ends with their requests being posted on the NeighborLinkIndy website.
Next, we coordinate a network of volunteers who assess the problem, recruit the right help and get the work done. We use local volunteers where possible, skilled handymen and local professionals who make their services available without charge, and we pay for services when necessary for legal, safety or other reasons.
Speaking of "paying" all funding is from donors or private grants. More than 90% of donated funds go directly into material costs and contractor services for specific projects. We have no payroll or facilities costs; we are all volunteers. NeighborLink Indy is three years into the development of a unique volunteer and community service model that engages neighbors, churches, companies, and home repair related contractors, in assisting our most vulnerable seniors to remain safely in their own homes as they age.
The community based approach appealed to volunteers and business partners alike. In our third month of operation, we were awarded a grant by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana for the following year. We ended 2014 with over 300 volunteers, more than 30 community partner organizations, and three times the funding we had planned. In 2015 demand grew so fast we had to create qualification criteria, limit income levels, and restrict our geography. Demand grew again in 2016 so fast we had to cut off requests when we reached 170 waiting for help in October. Funding and volunteer resources are the two major factors limiting our ability to help.