People Working Cooperatively helps residents stay safe while stuck inside

Staying at home is the safe thing to do during this pandemic, but what if your home isn’t safe?

Especially for people who are in or near poverty, are elderly or disabled, or live in a home that lacks security and is in a state of serious disrepair, which isn’t a very attractive option, even in a global health crisis.

To help people who must shelter in place in unsafe conditions, People Working Cooperatively has secured $175,000 in grants to make emergency repairs.

The agency helped a Westwood resident named Patricia shore up security at her home. It had a broken door that she dealt with by wedging knives in between the door and the doorframe, and propping a chair behind it, hoping to keep out any potential intruders.

PWC was able to provide and install a secure door.

The agency also helped a Colerain Township resident named Linda get two stair lifts installed in the home she shares with her husband, an amputee in need of dialysis treatments. The couple needed the lifts after both of them fell when Linda tried to help him down the stairs.

As of early May, the agency says it had started more than 260 health and safety projects and has 340 emergency requests waiting.

“Imagine being told to shelter-in-place but you don’t have water, heat, or you were laid off with little to no funds to address the issues in your home,” says PWC Vice President of Development Chris Owens. “This funding will make an immediate impact.”

The agency says health and safety emergency repairs are those that pose immediate threats to homeowners’ well-being, including no working heat or water, gas fumes, an electrical condition posing a fire threat, first-floor doors or windows that can’t be closed or secured, broken water lines where water is pouring — not dripping — out of the line, and main drain sewage backups.

“These funds allow us to not only address the emergency repairs of our current client base, which continues to grow, but to expand our reach,” says Jock Pitts, PWC president and CEO.

Incorporated in 1975, People Working Cooperatively is a nonprofit organization serving low-income, elderly, and disabled homeowners in 20 counties of Greater Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky, and Indiana. Its traditional mission has been to provide professional home repair and weatherization services to help residents stay safely in their homes. Over the last five decades, it says, with the help of thousands of volunteers, it has assisted more than 320,000 people.

For more information, visit their website or call (513) 351-7921.
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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.