With the help of a local nonprofit, veterans can now apply for assistance to improve the quality of housing by upgrading and preserving their homes.

Local nonprofit NeighborWorks Umpqua was recently awarded $30,000 by the national Housing Assistance Council in Washington, D.C., to assist with making critical repairs to homes owned by veterans in Roseburg.

The nonprofit was among 10 other nonprofit housing organizations in the nation and the only one in Oregon to receive funding through the council’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative.

The $30,000 grant award will assist veteran homeowners with critical repairs addressing accessibility, plumbing, electrical wiring, roofs, heating systems and other repairs that protect and preserve homes. Repairs will begin in 2017 and will run through the summer of 2018.

“No one who has served our country should live in substandard housing conditions,” said Brian Shelton-Kelley, director of acquisitions and development with NeighborWorks Umpqua in a written statement.

“We will work closely with veteran service organizations ... to identify homeowners who would be eligible for assistance under this program,” he said.

Disabled Army veteran Daniel Winder of Roseburg is one of the veteran recipients of this grant. He and his wife own a mobile home that’s in need of repairs.

The couple applied for a similar grant from NeighborWorks Umpqua in April that has already installed laminated flooring in their mobile home. The grant also helped pay for roof repairs and replacement of windows and the front door. Insulation was also placed underneath the trailer.

This second grant will replace the couple’s back door and install a new heating system in the home. A plumbing leak under the mobile home will also be repaired along with an exhaust fan over the stove.

Winder appreciates the grant assistance from NeighborWorks Umpqua because it would have taken him years to save up the money to make repairs that are needed now.

“I can’t express how thankful I am that this program exists to help us, because most of these repairs cost thousands of dollars,” he said.

With all the work that has been done, Winder said his mobile home is like a new home.

“These improvements have made my life a lot more comfortable and I’m proud to live here now,” he said. “With all these replacements, I don’t see me leaving this place anytime soon.”

Reporter Vera Westbrook can be reached at 541-957-4216 or vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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