Nine homeowners in need of urgent home repairs received much-needed assistance through a true public-private partnership this year.
The City of Durham and Durham County collaborated with the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association to prioritize stormwater intervention and weatherization. Referred to local service agencies for solutions, several homeowners shared major home repair concerns beyond the scope of the program.
Consider Sarah, who was referred into the program for rainwater management, but also urgently needed a new roof. A retired nurse, Sarah moved into her home nearly 30 years ago but was unable to afford a new roof on a fixed income.
“I wanted to get the leak resolved before going into hurricane and rainy season,” she said.
Rebuilding Together of the Triangle (RTT), a referral partner agency, soon recognized that assisting more homeowners like Sarah with other critical needs would require additional assistance.
“Although weatherization is important, homeowners with active roof leaks, subflooring collapse, or plumbing failures are understandably most worried about their immediate health and safety,” said Dan Sargent, Executive Director of RTT. “We and our partners care about that, too, which is why we needed another community partner to help us work more comprehensively,” he explained.
That’s where Cigna came in.
In June, the global health service company committed $30,000 in the community-wide initiative to improve the lives of nine Durham homeowners. All repairs were completed in October.
Each project corresponded to one of the principles of a healthy home according to the National Center for Healthy Housing. Aligning closely with Cigna’s philanthropic interests, these guiding principles underscore the close link between health and housing and other social determinants of health affecting vulnerable communities.
“We’ve invested in the health, well-being, and peace of mind of vulnerable Durham homeowners,” said Charles Pitts, Cigna Market President for the Carolinas. “The stress of housing insecurity can seriously impact an individual’s health, which is why Cigna is proud to work with Rebuilding Together of the Triangle to make a lasting difference in the health and quality of life of Durham homeowners.”
“I’m just proud that [they] picked me,” said Barba, another homeowner who needed moisture mitigation for severe water damage. “I just want to say thanks and give praises!” she exclaimed.