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Safety, Security, Peace of Mind

Partnering with Habitat means that Ms. Vanessa can remain in her home of 46 years where her family gathers.

For Ms. Vanessa, the kitchen has always been one of her favorite parts of her home.

Over the last 46 years, it is where her family gathered for board games, family discussions, and meals cooked by Ms. Vanessa, the matriarch of the entire family. With the help of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s Home Repair Team and the CAPABLE Program, Ms. Vanessa can continue to have family time in her kitchen in a safer and more secure environment.

“Whatever we have, we have it here,” says Ms. Vanessa. Her home in West Philadelphia is the meeting place for her eight children and grandchildren, and each day her grandchildren stop by for her cooking. Ms. Vanessa shares, “the grandkids call and ask what I’m making, even if their mom is cooking!” However, her health and the need for critical repairs threatened Ms. Vanessa’s comfort level in her family home.

Ms. Vanessa’s kitchen floor before Habitat’s repairs

Two years ago, the damage to Ms. Vanessa’s floor and other structural factors in the row home posed a serious threat to Ms. Vanessa’s health. Water damage caused a hole in the kitchen floor, making it difficult for anyone to maneuver around the room. Ms. Vanessa is also prone to falling due to health issues with her legs and knees. Her home needed proper railings so that she could move independently while avoiding injury.

One day, Ms. Vanessa noticed a Habitat Repair Program brochure on her front porch. It informed her of the CAPABLE Program that helps keep senior homeowners in their homes with the necessary repairs they need to ensure longevity and better health. The CAPABLE Program works in partnership with nurses and physical therapists at Drexel and Jefferson University Hospital to “prescribe” the necessary repairs a senior homeowner may need to remain in their home.

Once in the program, Habitat updated Ms. Vanessa’s bathroom with a new shower faucet, a handheld showerhead, a railing to help her in the bathroom, and a new drain. Habitat also worked with a contractor to install a safe railing to help her up and down the indoor stairs, and a railing at her back door to help her into the backyard where she now has a sturdy bench to rest on when she comes outside to watch the trains pass by.

The kitchen is now safe and comfortable for family game nights again. Habitat repair staff and volunteers installed a new post and beam to secure the joists under the kitchen floor. In addition, Habitat patched the water-damaged subfloor and installed new finish flooring and a new drain for the washer. Habitat’s team also replaced the kitchen sink and lower cabinets in the kitchen.

Ms. Vanessa exclaims, “This program was a lifesaver, and now I can’t understand how I let the repairs go so long. In the end, it was all worth it.” Through the CAPABLE Program, Ms. Vanessa has repaired her home and now has the peace of mind that she and her family will be safe and secure in their family home for years to come.



Ms. Vanessa’s floor after Habitat’s repairs.