Grassroots Community Development is preparing a bucket list that involves leaky roofs, not exotic trips or lifetime goals.
It has launched Phase 4 of its roof repair program, having secured $180,000 in Community Development Block Grant money from the city of Waco. It hopes to replace about 30 roofs the next 12 months, said Mike Stone, executive director, speaking by phone Monday afternoon.
Discussing the critical need, Stone said the organization has reroofed 40 residences the past year, a significant percentage occupied by people ages 75 or older. Many applying for help “have reached the point where they have to use buckets when it rains. They know just where to place them.”
For several years, said Stone, the organization recruited volunteers to repair roofs for the needy. The problem became so acute, it began pursuing more financial assistance and taking bids from area roofers.
“We’ve probably done business with at least five local contractors,” he said.
He said it is not unusual to discover gaping holes in roofs, and families encountering “terrible” roof problems during rainy months. He said inspectors will begin evaluating homes in February, a process that includes taking photographs, “and documenting water is coming in the house.” Enrollment began Monday, and Grassroots will accept requests through Jan. 16.
“There is no shortage of people needing assistance,” Stone said.
Applying for help
Applications are available online at www.Grassroots Waco.org, or the organization can email applications upon request. Those interested in having roofs repaired also may visit the office at 1624 Colcord Ave., a block from the Mission Waco/Mission World complex at 15th Street and Colcord Avenue.
Formed in 2001, Grassroots Community Development adopted a mission of commitment “to a brighter future for children, neighbors and communities,” according to the company website and a news release. It has repaired the homes of 140 Waco families, built 61 single-family homes and renovated 20 homes, according to a fact sheet Stone provided. It also has provided homebuyer counseling to 2,200 families, assisted 1,300 students through its Family Engagement Program, supported the creation of three neighborhood revitalization plans, and equipped community members for service through their Grassroots Leadership Training Program, said Stone.
Waco attorney Billy Davis serves as president, while builder Ken Cooper is vice president, and longtime businessman Johnny Mankin is treasurer.
Grassroots Community Development maintains an annual budget of about $500,000, with proceeds generated by fundraisers, donations and grants.
To receive free roofing assistance, households must meet income requirements that vary with the number of residents living in the home.
Grassroots Community Development is part of a housing assistance coalition that includes Neighborworks Waco, which builds homes for low-income families using locally generated grants and money from its corporate parent, Neighborworks America, said Calvin Hodde, who oversees construction for the Waco office. He said Neighborworks also helps clients improve their credit standing, if necessary, as they pursue market-rate mortgage loans.
Neighborworks typically gets involved in building or assisting with financing for homes priced from $115,000 to $150,000, Hodde said.
“We are aware of the program, and probably have sent a client or two their way. They offer a fantastic service,” said Hodde.
Neighborworks is poised to break ground, begin construction or host a sales closing on several homes in East Waco, on Texas, Carver, Hood and Turner streets, Hodde said. He adds that Neighborworks serves as general contractor and secures subcontractors, an assignment getting tougher as the Greater Waco housing market continues to percolate and labor is spread thin.
“Most subs already have plenty to do,” Hodde said.
The city of Waco through October had issued 473 permits to build single-family homes within the city limits, a 15 percent increase from the same period last year, according to a report from Amarillo-based economist Karr Ingham, who tracks local trends for the First National Bank of Central Texas and the Tribune-Herald. Permits issued in October alone were down 10 from October 2017, “but October 2018 was one of the wettest on record,” said Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, discussing Ingham’s findings.
Ingham’s findings reflect home construction only in Waco, not in its suburbs.