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  • Writer's pictureRachel Nelson

The Big Giving Needs We’re Facing

We blinked and suddenly it was December. Anyone else feeling the shock of 2021 blazing by? Each end of the year period we go back over the numbers of projects done, how we accomplished them, and take a long look at how we’re going to cover costs and ideally expand to help even more people in the following year. This end of year is no different in that approach.

We’ve had an absolutely banner year of completing projects and helping homeowners. We did return to indoor projects late summer/early fall - but those have not been with volunteers. Our costs have shifted with our updated ways of covering the needs in our community and with that, we’ve noticed four big areas where funding is a key need. As you’re wrapping up your own year, perhaps looking at ways to give back to the community or maybe you and your loved ones choose to donate to organizations in honor of one another, we’d like to share some options.

Accessibility: Since the very beginning of NeighborLink Indianapolis, we have installed handrails, fixed steps, and made sure the homeowners we serve can safely enter and exit their homes, their bathrooms, and other critical spaces. It comes as no surprise that the area of accessibility has been one of our most requested projects of all time. Since 2013 we have completed more than 3,000 projects - of those 19% have been accessibility projects. Individually these typically are not overly expensive projects to complete, however most homeowners need more than one accessibility project done and the sheer amount in a year necessitates us having a handy person on staff dedicated to those accessibility projects.

Plumbing: Believe it or not, plumbing accounts for more than 20% of the projects we’ve completed since 2013. Many of those projects have been water heater repair or replacement, but a fair few of those have been repairing water lines, fixing sinks, and replacing the one and only working toilet in the home. We have been amazed by the resourcefulness of the homeowners we serve. When they can’t afford a plumbing repair, they find ways around it. For example, one homeowner confessed her shower hadn’t been working for a few years. She had been taking showers at her nearby fitness center once a week. Thankfully we have volunteers who are proficient plumbers and able to cover most of the small plumbing work we have. We do have to hire out our water heater repairs and replacements as well as larger plumbing issues.

HVAC: Moving up in the line of costs, HVACs have been 10% of our projects since 2013. Thankfully we have been able to refer many of the HVAC replacements to Citizens Energy and IPL over the years. In some cases homeowners are able to be referred to other organizations that can cover anyone with EAP or other qualification guidelines. However, there are still a group of homeowners that are left to us to help heat their homes. When able, we repair the HVAC systems, but many times in these older homes, the HVAC system is long past borrowed time and on into no-way-am-I-ever-running-again. Our vendor we work with is phenomenal and gives us a great rate for replacing HVACs, yet it is still a costly endeavor that a homeowner living on 150% or below the federal poverty line just can’t cover.

Roofing: Completed roofing projects since 2013 are only 5% but unfortunately, that’s because we’ve had to turn away a fair share of the roofing needs when they are beyond our fiscal abilities. As we work on homes around Indianapolis, we are finding more and more critical roofing repairs and replacements that need to be done in order to secure that home for the homeowner for years to come. In some cases we are able to refer the homeowner to INHP for a loan, but in many cases that isn’t feasible for the homeowner. As we look to 2022 we are looking for funding options as well as donations to help cover the cost of repairs and potentially a few replacements. If you are drawn to help a homeowner secure their home for they and their generations of family to come, consider giving to help cover roofing costs.

Our list could certainly go on and on, however, these key areas are the ones that pull at our dollars the most and weigh the heaviest on our list of priorities more often than not. Giving Tuesday has become a staple in a nonprofit giving world and our fellow organizations are all needing funding for this or that. If you have space in your budget for helping low-income seniors or individuals with disabilities this winter, we’ll make it as easy as possible. Donate online, choose a monthly gift or a one time donation, or if you would prefer to write a check, our mailing address did change this year. We’re now at 3421 N. Park Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46205.

Our homeowners thank you already.

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