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'It's OK to ask for help': City of Mesa on track to help 70+ families with emergency home repairs by new year

Funding allows $25,000 a year to be spent on repairs per qualifying household
Posted at 6:29 AM, Dec 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 08:29:55-05

MESA, AZ — With inflation and the high cost of living, an emergency home repair can be financially devastating and, if left unfixed, potentially put your life at risk. That is why the City of Mesa is taking action to help vulnerable populations in the community.

Mesa Housing Specialist Gary Ray says the city has seen an increase in calls for assistance within the past year through their emergency rehabilitation program. The program recently got more funding and is on track to help over 70 households by the new year. 

The Patino family has already benefited from the program. Maria and her husband Ramon owned a tire shop for 30 years before the economy took a hit and their business went under. 

"It was devastating," Maria said. "Whatever we had left with our Social Security, we put it together and bought this trailer for $12,000." 

She said the trailer was tough to live in with cockroaches, broken air conditioning, a leaking roof, and mold in the bathroom. But today, the bathroom is re-done, they have working air, the roof is fixed and even the steps leading up to their home now have railing, which is much safer to walk up and down every day. Maria said it's all thanks to prayer that led them to the program. 

“I’m not a person who cries easily, but I can tell you there’s many times when I do cry, I cry alone in that truck when I come out of doing these site assessments to see the conditions some of these people are living in," Ray said. 

Research from Today's Homeowner shows nearly 60% of homeowners are putting off repairs because they can't afford them. The average cost of repairs has gone up by nearly $8,000 since 2018, according to a recent Houzz study. 

Through Mesa's program, funding allows $25,000 a year to be spent on repairs per qualifying household. 

For the Patinos, money is still tight, but Maria and Ramon can now comfortably sip their morning cup of coffee.

Maria says, unfortunately, there are others in her community unable to do the same. 

“There are so many elder people here who are in poor health because they don’t have no air or heater," she said. 

"It's so hard to ask for help and it's humbling," said Ray. "All of us need help. It's OK to ask for help." 

Ray says if you're a Mesa resident in need of assistance, you can apply now.

There is a similar program for residents in the city of Phoenix.

The city of Glendale has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to provide emergency home repairs for Glendale residents.