The North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) is helping homeowners in Hannibal and surrounding communities make their homes last longer and save money on utility bills through the second Safe and Sound Program.
Carla Potts, deputy director for housing development programs with NECAC, said the program received a $45,500 grant in 2018 from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation through NeighborWorks America. The Safe and Sound Program is funded through a national donation from the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. NECAC received a $66,666 grant this year, and crews will perform work at each home through NECAC's Self-Help Housing Program. Initial plans called for renovation work for five homes in Marion, Monroe Pike and Ralls counties, but Potts said they were able to expand the efforts to 10 homes.
Potts said NECAC crew members have completed work at four homes in Pike County and Monroe County, and work is set to begin next week at two homes in Hannibal. She said NECAC can leverage money from Safe and Sound with funding for NECAC programs like weatherization and home preservation, making a positive impact for homeowners with repairs like a full plumbing replacement.
"The older plumbing leaks, and that all costs money," Potts said. "It not only gives your home a longer life, it saves you money."
Potts expressed her happiness that the grant could be used for more homes than were first planned, she said, "which is always a good thing." A homeowner who recently received weatherization repairs for their home could be eligible through the Safe and Sound Program for a ramp and deck renovations to help with mobility issues.
Each time she visits homeowners and witnesses the transformation from the renovations, Potts said she enjoys seeing "peoples lives changed," stressing "it's such a pleasure to see the money that we bring in reaping such positive rewards in Northeast Missouri."
"It's the best part of my job —to go out and talk to people and see what the benefits are that we bring to the table with our dollars," she said.
Potts said the grants made an impact each year, and she is hopeful that the funding will continue.
"We've done a great job each year," she said. "We just hope that Wells Fargo sees what's being done and the difference their money through NeighborWorks makes, and want to continue funding this kind of work."
For more information about the Safe and Sound Program, call 573-324-6622 or the Marion County Service Center at 573-221-7166, the Monroe County Service Center at 660-327-4110, the Pike County Service Center at 573-324-2207 or the Ralls County Service Center at 573-985-2411.