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COA – Home repair increase

October 23, 2009 by WLKM 

Prompted by an increase in requests for home repair assistance, the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging (COA) has allotted another $5,000 for the program.

In approving the request for additional funds during their October meeting on Wednesday (October 21st), the COA Board of Directors indicated the boost in funding for home repairs was being approved with the understanding that the Home Repair Committee will meet and “set some guidelines and direction for the expenditures.”

The proviso regarding “guidelines and direction for the expenditures” reflected concern about the potential for demand for such assistance to outstrip the financial resources available for the program.

In a written report, Sherry Swartz, who manages the program, said, “(In) the many years that I have been a supervisor for this program, I have never seen so many referrals in the beginning of the COA’s fiscal year.”

The budget for the COA’s current fiscal year, which began October 1st, set aside $9,000 for home repairs.

The COA is gearing up to activate a “Tuesday Toolmen” program in the county and Swartz is scheduled to receive training for the program on October 29th. Tuesday Toolmen is described as “A group of retired, skilled tradesmen who meet every Tuesday to volunteer their time and tools by going into the community and assisting qualifying seniors who own and live in their own home.” The goal of the program is “to help seniors stay safely in their own homes.”

J. D. Yoder, a COA board member, suggested that nurturing the Tuesday Toolmen program “may be the answer, the biggest part of our answer” for dealing with the requests for assistance with home repairs.

The Tuesday Toolmen operated by Senior Services, Inc. of Kalamazoo won the Governor’s “Exemplary Community Service Award” in 2007.

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