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Mt. Oliver Resident Makes Much-Needed Home Repairs through HAPI Assistance

July 2020

Eileen Robinson is a Pittsburgh native and current homeowner in Mt. Oliver where she’s lived for 11 years. As a participant in the Home Accessibility Program for Independence (HAPI), Robinson was able to make critical health and safety repairs to her older home.

The HAPI grant program assists income-eligible homeowners with physical disabilities to make accessibility modifications to their homes.

In Robinson’s case, she connected with Hilltop Alliance, a community-driven organization serving South Pittsburgh neighborhoods, where Outreach and Assistance Manager Roy Blankenship gave her direction on how to get involved in the URA’s HAPI program. (Thanks Roy!)

With HAPI financing in the amount of $10,000, Robinson kicked off a great deal of accessibility modifications that needed to be done in her bathroom, including the installation of a walk-in tub and shower (she had a makeshift shower before), grab bars, and associated dry wall, plumbing, and electrical work to tie it all together. The contractor team also installed a visual doorbell with a camera so Ms. Robinson can easily see when guests come to visit.

“If it wasn’t for the HAPI program, there’s no way I would have been able to afford to have that work done – to have a new tub and a shower put in. The plumbing in there all had to be replaced within a year or so, and I don’t know how I would have went about replacing it,” said Robinson.

“Working with URA’s staff – Corey DeRico, Derek Kendall-Morris, and Justin Belton was good,” Robinson said. “In my opinion, they’re concerned and want to make sure people are satisfied. I thought they listened very well, and there were no problems.”

“I enjoyed helping Mrs. Robinson with her bathroom rehab. Being able to provide homeowners with a path toward a more comfortable home gives me great joy. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the vital work and community redevelopment performed by the URA,” said Corey DeRico, URA’s construction quality control manager who inspected Robinson’s home for quality and completion.

What’s next for Robinson? She’s currently in the process of the Housing Opportunity Fund’s Homeowner Assistance Program, with a bid out for a contractor to make additional and much-needed safety modifications and replacements to her home. She said she’ll be relieved to get it all fixed.

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