By Jeff Whitehouse and Marc Takacs
East Atlanta’s Neighbor in Need (NiN) Initiative celebrated its first year of operation in May. It’s been a busy first year, illustrating just how much need there is in the community for the assistance Neighbor in Need gives local seniors. Neighbor in Need’s mission is to assist fixed income seniors in the East Atlanta Neighborhood with emergency home repairs in an effort to keep them safe and comfortable in their homes. It also helps keep the diversity of our neighborhood intact and keeps yet another property from going back to the bank, or becoming an eyesore that attracts nefarious activities.
So far, NiN has helped a number of seniors hang on to their homes and exponentially improved their quality of life. A couple of residents on Hilburn Avenue were among the first to get assistance from the organization. One family member was afflicted with a stroke and the required care diverted resources and time from maintaining their home of 40 years. NiN helped by replacing the roof, and gutters by making some necessary changes so that the electrical system could be safely used throughout the house. Another family who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years had no heat or air conditioning, as well as electrical issues. NiN stepped in to handle the repairs. Once we found out the father had Alzheimers, NiN even helped to secure his door so he couldn’t get out of the house at all hours. Another longtime resident who hadn’t taken a warm bath in years got hot water and their HVAC system back running, as well as a repaired roof to prevent leaks during the spring. Thanks to recommendations from neighbors, these are a few examples of the work Neighbor in Need has been able to do in the past year. There are several pending projects in the pipeline and NiN is finalizing bids for the work and continuing to raise funds to help out additional neighbors who are in tough situations.
So far, Neighbor in Need has been able to primarily support this work with donations and fund raising events. A pumpkin sale in the fall at the Farmer’s Market, a top notch poker tournament at the Midway Pub, the annual Taste of East Atlanta and a $1,000 grant to Marc Takacs from the National Association of Realtors and the Good Neighbor Society’s Volunteering Works program have been a big help. Donations from the Porch Press, Martha Brown UMC, The Village Church of East Atlanta, EACA, and a number of private individual donations have all gone to directly impacting people’s lives in a positive way. Neighbor in Need wants to sincerely thank everyone who donated and helped to raise money.
A key component to the Neighbor in Need initiative is getting professional, quality work done for the seniors. The stories of how things got so bad for these seniors often involves an unscrupulous or incompetent contractor who put them on a path towards not being able to safely live in their home. The contractors Neighbor in Need works with are professional, honest, trustworthy, and highly skilled in their trade. Folks like Bart Kasten at Fire and Ice HVAC (404-627-5827), Mr. Do All, Terry Cross (770-873-5184), Ian Jones with Renner (770-720-4940 x 22), and A-1 Roofing (404-627-6999) have generously devoted time and labor to helping local seniors. The community should consider these professionals for work on their next project.
Now that the Neighbor in Need initiative has gotten on its feet, the amount of work and assistance necessary in this community is starting to become apparent. Fundraising
has become a priority, as we are contacted about projects for more and more neighbors. Neighbor in Need is actively seeking out grants they would be eligible for as well as soliciting donations from the community at large. No donation is too small to make a difference and more information and our donation site can be found at www.eaca.net, under the Initiatives tab. To get involved in the initiative as a contractor or volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The needs are great but the neighbors are greater.
East Atlanta Village’s Neighbor in Need Initiative Updates
By Jeff Whitehouse and Marc Takacs