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Charlottesville-Area Volunteer Home Repair Program in High Demand

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Volunteer working at Ouida Brown's home Volunteer working at Ouida Brown's home
Ouida Brown Ouida Brown
Beck Cohen truck Beck Cohen truck
Ravi Respeto Ravi Respeto
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A Charlottesville-area home repair program is in high demand with more than 300 families waiting for heat and other critical repairs.

Ouida Brown and the four grandchildren she's raising will no longer be cold in their home. She now has working heat thanks to volunteers from the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP).

"This is going to make so much of a difference," said Brown. "They're going to take their coats off and jackets off."

While Brown and her family will go to bed comfortable Thursday night, hundreds of other families won't.

"We currently have 521 families on our wait list of which 330 are waiting for emergency repairs," said Ravi Respeto with AHIP.

Emergency repairs include everything from restoring heat to patching leaking roofs: "People will call because they have literally snow and rain coming into their home," Respeto said.

AHIP's mission is to keep families safe at home, but public funding is shrinking, making it more difficult to do that.

“There's just more need than dollars to make a difference for these families," Respeto explained.

AHIP receives close to 15 calls each week from people who cannot afford to fix their homes.

"We don’t want to go bed knowing there's a family in this community that’s going to be cold or isn’t going to have hot water or isn’t going to be able to sleep and be safe in their home that night," said Respeto.

AHIP is asking the community to consider donating money or services:  "We need private funding, that’s really where we make the biggest impact," Respeto said.

Beck Cohen of Charlottesville paid for and helped install the new HVAC system at Brown's home. They've agreed to help out at least one family on AHIP's wait list a month.

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