Milford is one of seven communities taking part in Day of Caring. Seventy-three homes, including five homes from Leesburg, will also be repaired. There are approximately 836 volunteers from businesses and contractors that will be working on the homes. It’s anticipated that 1,000 volunteers will take part in Day of Caring, when all food preparers and various volunteers are added.
This year, the focus is on assisting veterans and widows of veterans that are in need of housing repairs, to honor them for the sacrifices they have made for the country. Of the 73 families, 19 are veterans or widows of veterans. Each home will be identified by an American flag in the yard, alongside a Day of Caring sign.
The Day of Caring isn’t as spread out around the county as in year’s past. Instead, organizers chose to concentrate on fewer communities and will rotate where they go each year. The goal is to have more done in each area, and to have a bigger impact on the community. It also places volunteers closer together so they can share their specialities and talents at more than one location.
Housing Opportunities partnered with Energize Indiana in Mentone’s Day of Caring. Twenty-six homes will receive energy assessments, which will identify where that home has the largest energy loss. The homeowners will also receive aerators and shower heads that will reduce their water usage and energy saving light bulbs. Four families qualified to have complete energy audits and their homes will receive insulation and sealing. Housing Opportunities will receive $25 for each home they work on, which will be matched for the housing improvement grant for Mentone.
During Day of Caring, the volunteer time, contractors’ time, material cost, and Energize Indiana activities will be matched from the community for two major housing rehabilitation grants from Indiana Housing and Community Development: One in Mentone and one in Warsaw. These will allow low-income homeowners to receive grant money to have home repairs such as new roofs, furnaces, water heaters and repair electrical and plumbing hazards as well as make energy repairs.
Housing Opportunities will also be applying for a grant through Rural Development that will make housing rehabiltation grant funding available to those living in other areas of Kosciusko County.
Currently, Mentone has a waiting list of 12 families, Warsaw has a waiting list of 15 families and the county have a waiting list of 25 families. These grants will be vital to improving the living conditions of these families.
In all, 28 local contractors will give their time during the Day of Caring Event. A professional contractor will be on 47 percent of the sites. Some local businesses have offered to donate supplies.
Following the Day of Caring, a Reflection Event will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Hillside Amplitheater in Winona Lake.