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May 14, 2012

16th edition of Repair Affair slated for June 9 in Southern Indiana

NEW ALBANY — Volunteers are needed to perform repairs for disabled and low income homeowners in Southern Indiana as part of the annual Repair Affair event slated for June 9.

Louisville-based New Directions Housing Corp. oversees the event, providing supplies and tools to people willing to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand to needy homeowners.

This year’s edition will mark the 16th Repair Affair held in Southern Indiana by the organization.

“It’s helping the most vulnerable among us,” said Butch Rice, home repair program manager for New Directions.

To qualify for Repair Affair, a person must be at least 60 years old or certified as disabled, own their own home and be on a limited income. The rate is 50 percent of the area median income or less, and for a single person, they would have to earn $22,500 or less annually to qualify.

Ramps, grab bars, fixing a leaky faucet — the projects completed during Repair Affair range from somewhat sizable to simple mends. But Rice said the help is irreplaceable to those who receive it.

“What would you do for your elderly grandmother or parent who can’t do for themselves?,” Rice said.

Instead of complaining about an overgrown lot, Rice encourages residents to find out if the property owner can actually afford to maintain it. If you go to someone’s house and their fence row is overgrown and you take care of it, “you’ve changed that person’s life,” he said.

Typically civic organizations, churches and neighborhood associations will form volunteer groups to participate in Repair Affair, but Rice said individuals are needed even if they don’t have a team to join.

He added New Directions is focusing on engaging more neighborhood associations to participate in the event since they typically can organize several volunteers and have a solid knowledge of where help is needed.

Last year, Rice estimated about 140 people volunteered for the event. The aim for 2012 is to garner 170 volunteers. The Southern Indiana Repair Affair is a separate event than the Louisville Repair Affair, though they’re both chartered by New Directions.

Each year, volunteers gather in the Home Depot parking lot in Clarksville, share a continental breakfast and then disperse to their assigned projects. This year’s edition will be the same, as volunteers are asked to meet at The Home Depot at 8 a.m. on June 9.

In addition to volunteers, Rice said New Directions is still seeking recommendations for potential projects. Rice said typically most projects are confined to Clarksville, Jeffersonville, New Albany and Floyds Knobs because of the travel involved.

To propose a project or to volunteer, contact Rice by e-mail at butchr@ndhc.org, or by phone at 502-719-7134.

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