Appalachia Service Project launches Tri-Cities Home Repair Program

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Jan 22, 2019 at 10:11 PM

Appalachia Service Project is gearing up for its year-round home repair program and reaching out to volunteers to help make homes warmer, safer and drier for low-income homeowners in five area counties.

With new funding from the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency to help ASP in its mission to eradicate substandard housing, the program is set to get underway in March and continue throughout the year.

ASP hosted a couple of informational meetings Tuesday to let interested groups and individuals in on how the program will be rolling out.

Based at ASP’s headquarters in Johnson City, the program will serve low-income homeowners in Carter, Hawkins, Sullivan, Washington and Unicoi counties who are in need of home repairs they cannot afford.

Staff members told those who came to learn more on Tuesday that beyond being a building repair and homebuilding program, ASP is “a relationship ministry” through which friendships are forged that may impact the families who are served for the rest of their lives. And not all its volunteers swing hammers.

ASP’s Nicole Intagliata told the groups that there volunteers who take part in its projects not by building, but by sitting and talking with families. “That’s what they do and they do it so well,” Intagliata said.

For those who come with their sleeves rolled up, Zah Schoettes, ASP’s Tri-Cities Program coordinator, said the projects range from installing wheelchair ramps and widening doors to helping a senior remain in their home to making room additions for families with children who are overcrowded.

Leaking roofs, rotting floors and crumbling foundations are repaired. HVAC systems are installed. Showers and bathtubs are replaced. Homes are weatherized, fire-proofed and child-proofed — all depending on needs and available resources and all at no cost to the homeowners.

Abraham McIntire, strategic partnerships coordinator for ASP, said the ministry has been making homes in Central Apalachia warmer, safer and drier for 50 years and is now working with Ballad Health and ETSU’s Department Public Health to make homes healthier as well.

Jen Rickert, with the ASP Volunteer Team, encouraged those who attended Tuesday’s meeting to spread the word that the program is need of helpers and to invite anyone who may be interested to contact her at ASP headquarters.

Eight work weekends are currently planned for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in March and April, but Intagliata said ASP is hopes to be able to work with volunteers when they are available and in whatever capacity they are able to serve.

More information about ASP’s Tri-Cities Home Repair Program may be obtained by call ASP at 423-854-8800 or visiting ASPhome.org.

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