When seniors need a helping handyman
Seniors in Oak Park and River Forest have a new resource for their home renovation and maintenance duties. The Oak Park and River Forest communities and their respective village government counterparts have teamed up to launch a new craft program for residents over 60.
“We have seen that need re-emerge over the years and this was a really exciting option to come up with,” said Pam Mahn, senior services director for Oak Park and River Forest communities.
With the new home improvement program, senior citizens in Oak Park and River Forest can have an insured and reliable professional cleaning their gutters, repairing faucets, hanging shelves, and many other home maintenance services for $ 20, 30, or 40 an hour at the income level . The fees are much cheaper than hiring a professional outside of the program, according to Mahn.
“In general, when you call a plumber or home repair professional, you often see a fee of $ 50 or $ 75 just to view the house,” she said. “And that’s before they even do anything.”
The two township and village governments share the cost of running the program for the first year, with each unit contributing $ 1,750. These local government costs include interviewing artisans, conducting background checks, and training.
“What we will also do to apply for money for those who have a low income in order to receive free services,” said Mahn.
For the program, the four tax authorities are partnering with Northwest Housing Partnership, a not-for-profit agency that promotes public and private partnerships that create and maintain affordable, quality housing for low- to middle-income residents.
“We really appreciate the Northwest Housing Partnership for their willingness to involve the residents of Oak Park and River Forest in their work,” said Mahn. “Robyn Sandys, Executive Director, was an asset to moving the work forward during that time.”
To reserve a handyman, seniors in Oak Park and River Forest only need to call Northwest Housing. The non-profit organization records the information from the caller, discusses the tasks to be completed and then arranges a visit from the craftsman, who, according to a warning, happens to live on site. The senior then pays the craftsman directly.
David Taub will serve as the craftsman for the program. Mahn said Taub will judge whether additional workers should be hired based on the amount of repair work generated by the program.
Home improvement training goes beyond what is needed to perform general repairs and install basic household items.
“The practical person will take part in the training of dementia friends so that they know what it is like to work with someone who may have dementia and that they can turn to us if they have problems,” said Mahn.
Since there is only one craftsman, there is no guarantee that emergency repairs can be reached. The program is designed to assist seniors with routine maintenance and general repairs, such as installing grab rails.
“We are particularly focused on house modifications to ensure that it is accessible for them to stay in the house and be able to stay in the community.”