DELAND, Fla. — An 88-year-old widower received a home makeover completely free of charge after his struggles with hurricane damage were brought to the attention of Spectrum’s Housing Assist Program.
- Central Florida family recieves free home makeover
- Spectrum's Housing Assist Program aids natural disaster victims
Spectrum is dedicated to improving the lives of homeowners across the nation, and on Saturday, Grady Smokes of Deland became the most recent person to benefit from Spectrum’s philanthropic mission to improve 50,000 homes by 2020.
Smokes’ Deland home was riddled with damage that lingered from Hurricane Irma. He was one of many whose claims for assistance from FEMA were denied, so he turned to Volusia County Interfaith/Agencies in Disaster (VIND), a non-profit aimed at providing resources to individuals affected by natural disasters.
“It gives me goosebumps every time I can see the change and give safety back to a family or a single homeowner so that way they can move on,” said Terry Folley, VIND.
VIND helped connect Smokes to Rebuilding Together, one of the many national partners Spectrum works with to accomplish their goal of remodeling homes for deserving homeowners.
Joe Durkin, Director of Communications Spectrum FL, said, “Our goal by 2020 is to touch the lives of 50,000 homeowners across the nation, and we’re close to 24,000 homes so far.”
Smokes was in need of a new roof, and had interior water damage to his home. He had been living with the issues for more than a year due to a fixed income.
“I never could’ve done it myself, and it’s so nice to have it done,” Smokes said.
The repairs that will be completed on his home, which includes a new roof, would have cost Smokes upwards of $20,000, according to Rebuilding Together Project Manager Brian Coller.
“His roof was damaged by Hurricane Irma so we’re having contractors come in and repair it by early next week,“ Coller said.
As Smokes sat in his yard and watched the work being done to his home he smiled, and for the volunteers there it was the only thank you they needed.
“All I can say is thank you, thank you to everybody,” he said.