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South Bend announces 1 million to be spent on home repairs in the city

NOW: South Bend announces 1 million to be spent on home repairs in the city

SOUTH BEND, Ind. –South Bend officials announced a new initiative Monday that will invest $1 million in home repairs for residents of the city. It’s called South Bend Home Repair.

“This program is needed. Trust me,” said Lisa Chavers, who has lived in her South Bend home for nearly 20 years.

She used Habitat for Humanity to build up her home, and has worked to improve it over the years.

“Now I’m raising my grandkids in my home, they’re here a lot,” she said, “so I want to keep it comfortable. Grandma’s house is always the house to come to you know?”

And she’s excited that keeping it comfortable might get a little easier with this new initiative.

South Bend Home Repair is working to make home improvements simple. It unifies three different programs, including Love Your Block, South Bend Green Corps and the South Bend UEA Pilot Home Repair program.

“There’s a lot of need. And we’re responding to that need,” said South Bend Common Council Member Regina Williams-Preston, who was at Monday’s announcement. “This is what we’re talking about in how city governments can really connect with neighbors, and when we’re able to really communicate then the city will be responsive and we can get, what did we say a million dollars?”

That money will go towards fixing things like doorbells, windows, faucets or even water heaters and electrical problems.

Chavers says she’s already got some fixes in mind.

“I want some new doors,” she said. Not only do I want them, I need some new doors. I need knobs; I need a new sump pump.”

But she also says this could build up more than just the inside of her home.  

“Because if you don’t get repairs done in your home it can tear down a whole neighborhood,” said Chavers.

In the 20 years she’s lived in her neighborhood, she says she’s seen several homes empty out and be replaced with vacant lots. She says part of the problem, is that homeowners don’t have the money to keep up with home improvements.

“We can’t continue to make it a community if we don’t have the neighbors, and don’t have the houses,” she said.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg also feels the impact spreads throughout communities.  

 “It benefits the whole neighborhood by stabilizing them and motivating others to bring resources too,” he said.

Chavers says she knows of several people who are going to take advantage of the program.

“There are a lot of people in the community that want to keep their homes. They don’t want to lose their homes. I’ve been here since 1999; I’m not ready to go just because I can’t keep my house up,” she said.

Homeowners interested in applying for help just need to call 311 and describe the repair that needs done. Then staff will work to connect them with the best program available to get that issue fixed.

There will also be two community meetings for residents to learn more. Both will be at the downtown library in South Bend. One will take place at January 29from 6-8 p.m. and the other will take place on February 9 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

More information on the initiative and guidelines can be found here.

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